This week’s word of the week comes from the ARC of the very latest Flavia de Luce Novel, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust. Given the character traits of her bookworm sister, Daffy, I tend to learn a few new words every time I read a de Luce novel.
I chose the word tableau even though I’m familiar with it simply because as I ran errands the other day, and got lost in my own head, the world around me stopped. People walking dogs, cars rolling through stop signs, birds in mid-flight. They all stopped, paused, perched in their current state as I sat in my car, thinking long and hard about life choices.
As I jumped out of my own head and looked at the stillness that surrounded me, I realized that each paused person had their own story, one that could be read from the way they walked, the look in their eyes, or the wrinkle on their brow. When I parked my car with one hand on the wheel, the other hand on my lap, my body hunched over my steering wheel slightly, the world begin moving once again and I stopped. My turn to be the tableau, to tell the world everything I felt through the stillness of my body, the frozen expression on my face. I wonder if anyone noticed.
“You are twenty. You are not dead, although you were dead. The girl who died. And was resurrected. Children. Witches. Magic. Symbols. Remember the illogic of the fantasy. The strange tableau in the closet behind the bathroom: the feast, the beast, and the jelly-bean. Recall, remember: please do not die again. Let there be continuity at least – a core of consistency – even if your philosophy must be always a moving dynamic dialectic. The thesis is the easy time, the happy time. The antithesis threatens annihilation. The synthesis is the consummate problem.”
— Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
** Tableau photo from BCSS Drama website, I did not take the photo.**