Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hearts on fire

I want to talk about books. Since early 1980's I've always had a book on the go..bedtime wouldn't be the same without dipping into another world or experience. Until now I have read almost exclusively science fiction and fantasy..I've read literaly hundreds of novels, forever it seems chasing that perfect moment at 16 when I first read The Lord Of The Rings. From Tolkien, Asimov, Heinlein, Aldiss to more recent authors Peter F Hamilton, Douglas Adams, David Eddings, Terry Goodkind, Stephen Donaldson, Raymond E Fiest..and of course the fantastic Terry Pratchett ( may I recommend 'Night Watch' and 'The Truth'?).

But things were to change. It happened this summer when in the turmoil of school holidays, career decisions, poverty and if I'm honest, an instance when I had to question the solidity of my marriage, I had to confront the very foundations of my existance. Why do I need to put my family through all the emotional instabillity of one concerned with making pretty pictures for a living? I found myself asking,often sitting in front of my drawing board not being able to move an artistic muscle. Desperatley dreaming of the best expression of my desires, but getting caught on the barbs of commercialism, wanting to actually sell something. then came my 'Mental Beach'..the heatwave and a little holiday in North Berwick.

Sitting on my patio at home during one of the hottest summers ever, I'd imagine I was on a beach, I'd imagine it all, the lapping of the waves, the screech of the gulls..people walking dogs..icecreams, deck chairs...I then would Email my two best friends and talk about my ideas. Off loading my angst, dropping into free fall whilst under the influence of a good bottle of red or J.D. During this time Brigid and especially Kay would experience emails from the mundane to the bizzare and extreme as I sought to find a way through. (Both of you I have to say are fundamental in the place I find myself take a bow! )

The result?..I turned to my reading to provide the answers. Whilst on holiday in North Berwick, Kay recommended a book: 'The Time Travellers Wife' by Audrey Niffenegger. I'll leave the reviews to others ( Check out Amazon! ). But I will say one thing (being frank, and this realy happened!) I was into the final few chapters of this heart was churning with the events in the story. I was having a bath and Jan was downstairs working on the computer. I have never had my heart bashed about and wrung by such a moving and beautiful tale..I cried and cried at one particular point, and nothing but the security of being held would do..thus it was that a naked ,wet,bubble covered and crying me appeared infront of a suprised Jan. I never knew a book could do that to me.

Since then I've read an equally moving tale: 'The Lovely Bones'by Alice Sebold and am now deep into 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini. I love the way the tales I've read have moved me in a way I've not experienced before..Jan has said she delights in the discoveries I have yet to make. She of course is no stranger to the world I have recently found..perhaps after all I've questioned, I am now able to reach out and want the answers..that consolidation can be found in the writing of others and the sharing of ourselves, an openess to question and to accept. Staring into Jan's eyes at the Salsa class, I know that I love and need her more than ever.