Ludie's Life. I forgot how much I love this book. In it, Cynthia Rylant takes us back to West Virginia through powerful poetry about a woman named Ludie... walking us through Ludie's life at each stage. From childhood to old age, we get to know this character well... her heartaches, her loves, her losses, her joys, her laughter. The images that Rylant evokes through this bit of narrative poetry plants us in the hardscrabble life of a woman living in a coal-mining town. It's poetry that reads like a novel. Beautifully written. Beautiful story.
In Ludie's Life, Rylant reflects on the lives of the Appalachian people that she so often writes about. As you read it, you can't help but wonder how much she drew from her own schema. The stories she's heard. The stories she's lived. The stories she imagined.
Each time I read it, I think about the woman I know who lived similar lives, though in different places and different times. I can't help but be reminded of the stories I've heard that float through my heart and mind. Each time I read this book, I place it back on the bookshelf with a heavy sigh. There's something appealing about it.
Perhaps its the simplicity. Perhaps its the honesty. But I like to think it's because it's classic Rylant... sincere, simple, sweet.. with just a hint of her secluded life, a life that true Rylant fans want to be a part of so desperately. She's on my top ten list of people I'd like to meet. Someday, I just want to chat with her, sit and talk for a bit, bring my own children for a visit, and enjoy a cup of tea. Don't we all?
BUT, for now we have her writing. And for some of us we just can't get enough of writing like that found in Ludie's Life.