Monday, October 1, 2018

Two reactions and a postscript

I was on an airplane last week when I noticed, just above my appropriately upright and locked tray table, a small sticker. The sticker sat below a vertical plastic slot in the seat-back in front of me where rested an in-flight magazine (one of its crossword puzzles half done), along with two pamphlets -- one pushing snacks for purchase and a credit card invitation; the other offering safety information for the aircraft in which I sat. For the record, there was also one air-sickness bag, unused. I now noticed one sticker on every seat-back within view. Each said, "Literature only."

My first reaction was to scoff: "Literature?" I thought haughtily. "Hardly."

I'm prouder of my next reflection. "Literature? Why shouldn't it be? The more avid and aspiring readers alike get comfortable with literature as the name for texts that might pull their attention for serious or frivolous reasons, emergencies or diversions, or just by being at hand, the better. Literature need not exist just in its distant, daunting capital L iteration that stultifies too many students in schools. Before the plane even reached its cruising altitude, I had chosen to welcome these connotation complications.

P.S. Apology. Again, William Carlos Williams

I have finished
the crossword
that was in
the seat-back

and which
you were probably

Forgive me
it was diverting
squares white
and now filled


  1. I am thinking how literature really is, in the end, one of us coming behind and picking up where another stopped off. No matter the amount of words (or in this case, letters) in print...we bring ourselves to what's already there. A nice embracing of the moment here with that beckoning puzzle. Seems it wanted to be finished. Perhaps as plums want to be eaten.

  2. Squares white and now filled. Nice work. Personally I’m tolerating the graphic novel as a piece of literature.

  3. I'm just relaxing on this phrase: connotation complications.