I love this word. I first learned it in Dr. Shay’s refugee narrative class in college. A theme of the course was the ocean as a palimpsest: the ocean as a graveyard, a place where refugees and enslaved peoples have perished during god-forsaken sea-journies; the ocean as a place of hope and travel for refugees who successfully make the journey; the ocean as a place of paradise after death according to some ancient religious beliefs. The ocean is re-written as a place again and again.
When I am reading one book and begin another at the same time, I often find that the first book takes on the form of a palimpsest because I seem to find glimpses of it in my new reading material. It is like in grade school when you learn the word “conciliatory,” and then, suddenly the word appears everywhere you seem to look.
Why read one thing when you can read three? Currently I am reading:
- The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo (who perhaps is also a palimpsest; google a picture of him to see what I mean)
- Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
- Inferno by Dan Brown
(technically I am reading 4 pieces if you count my manuscript that I am editing)
What are you reading? I’d love to have a new book to look forward to.