Tuesday, February 16, 2010

turning the world inside out

is pretty much what the snow does - transforming the campus into a photo-negative version of itself. This label, however, doesn't come from someone determined to label this reversal of dark ground, but from the central stone of the war memorial, just protruding from the white. It's an odd phrase, though: wouldn't one rather say "a world turned upside down"? - or might that have sounded too like Christopher Hill's book on the English Civil War? "Inside out" sounds more careless or perverse than completely disoriented - like someone looking for a lost iPhone in a capacious purse, or trying to make a stain on a t-shirt invisible, or disguising the embarrassing logo on a plastic bag. It even sounds viscerally disgusting, like instructions for boning a chicken before stuffing it in some complex way. Do people speak, here, of their lives being "turned inside out," and hence revealing that which is meant to be invisible - a lining, a label - or by analogy, the raw emotions of dislocation and grief? I don't ever recollect hearing the expression. The words do stand, however, as a very satisfactory description of the effects of snow.

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