Monday, May 31, 2010

Replenishing the well...

Replenish might not be the right word for it, but I do feel restored.

Long lazy hours spent doing nothing but reading this weekend. Primarily non-fiction at the moment because biographies and memoirs are less work than fiction. My brain needs the rest. Although I did read Heather O'Neill's Lullabies for Little Criminals at long last. A gorgeous, tough, honest work. Not a new book but new to me. I never seem to read books in their prime. I always have to wait until the dust settles to appreciate them.

Books are dependable allies. A port in a storm. Heather O'Neill describes her very difficult childhood in the readers' notes at the back of Lullabies. She lists the books she loved to read as a kid and as an adult. I get the sense books saved her life. The main character in Lullabies depends heavily on books to get her through. Thinking of all those authors, long-dead some of them, rallying around this kid to guide her to safety and sanity moves me to my core.

Books save lives. I don't think that's overstating it. I used to read Jane Austen whenever I felt like jumping off a bridge. Settled me right down.

Resting on another author's words, absorbing their world view, calms, restores, and rejuvenates. Makes you feel rich and glad to be human. Now how many activities in life can boast a return like that?

I think I'm ready to start the new novel. To paraphrase the brilliant Margaret Laurence: "Get back to work, slob."

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