Paratalk or Torque?

Suzie Eisfelder

Paratalk or Torque is where I take a paragraph, mostly at random, and talk about it however I wish. It’s an old column I’ve revived. It has fairly broad scope and could go on for ages. Let me know if you get bored, I may not listen though.

Today I’m taking my paragraph from Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones. Chosen almost entirely at random, we’ve had an interesting night and I’ve been interrupted so it’s taken me three times to pick a paragraph.

The vicar climbed shakily into the pulpit and gave his text in a weak, wandering voice. ‘For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified.’ This was certainly to the point. Unfortunately, nothing else he said was. He told, in his weak wandering voice, of weak wandering episodes in his early life. He compared them with weak wandering things he thought were happening in the world today. He told them they had better be sanctified or all sorts of things – which he forgot to mention – would happen, which reminded him of a weak and wandering thing his aunts used to tell him.

Not a bad paragraph when paired with other paragraphs. On its own I have problems with it, and that illustrates why this column is not necessarily a good thing to be writing, but I’m doing it anyway. So the next paragraph illustrates very nicely how boring the vicar is. ‘One of the saints in the stained-glass windows yawned…’ You know you’re boring when even the saint depicted in the window is bored.

Maybe I should go back to the point of the column. The biggest issue I have with this is the same phrase is repeated four times. Generally, saying something once in a paragraph is enough, but five times? That’s generally not recommended, but this is Diana Wynne Jones and she’s one of the best so maybe we’d better look at it a little more closely.

What she seems to be trying to point out only five times is that the vicar is old and probably not very good at his job. I’m sure there are other ways of pointing this out, but all of this is in complete contrast to the magic that is going on around him. And one thing Jones does is great contrasts, only one thing, mind.

Another thing I’d like to have a word or two about is the things that have happened in the past and also the present. They’re both ‘weak and wandering’, it’s almost as if Jones is showing us that things haven’t changed much from then to the present.

I’m having trouble writing about this tonight. Jones has done her usual magic on me. I read one paragraph and now I don’t want to stop. I’ll have to put this book back on my TBR pile so I can read it once again and find out what is going to happen to Cat.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}