Friday, April 22, 2011

Journal 5--Books find me

I feel guilt alot, alot of guilt. It's a side-effect, a twin sibling of my anxiety, I believe. Both emotions (feelings? afflictions?) take very little to ignite them from a small fire to an inferno.

I've thought alot about not fighting life lately, as my friend A. so wisely puts it. I thought about that as I talked to my bank last night after finding out my credit card had somehow been compromised and I needed to cancel it to prevent any further fraudulent activity. I thought about how that would have affected me a few years ago. I would have panicked, tried to control the situation. But now I just let the bank handle it. Their area of expertise after all. Since spending the last few weeks dealing with the situation my father and mother find themselves in, nothing else really does, or can ignite me.

Signs truly do keep finding their way to me, obscure books, lines from songs, messages from people.

Reading in bed last night, I realized that I'd mistakenly gotten a book out of the library that was actually number 3 in a series (the fact that the book said number 3 on the front cover was somehow, not a clue to me). I was reading the first chapter of the book, "The Irrational Season", it's called, filled with diaristically-fuelled thoughts by the author (it's a journal-type series, part autobiography, part poetry, written by Madeleine L'Engle). After finishing the chapter, which was quite profound, the writer talking about being awake, alone, in the middle of the night, staring out the window of her New York City apartment, having a warm drink, something I could certainly relate to; I turned the book over, to read the reviews and reactions of critics, other writers. They had the bones of Book 3, as well as the other books in the series (Books 1, 2, and 4).

Book 1, A Circle of Quiet, sounded good too. The quote, from Jean Kerr, in part read:
"I know it will give great consolation to ordinary people who sometimes wonder why they bother to get out of bed in the morning". I was immediately reminded of my recent 'day dread' thoughts and had a moment of pause.

Book 2, The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, had this quote from the Washington Post:
"Anyone who has dealt with, or will soon deal with, the death of a parent will find some solace, understanding, and companionship in this perceptive book, which is, in the end, more about living than about dying". I had to stop and look around my room at this point. Was this some kind of joke? How could I have not noticed these quotes when I took the book out of the library? I must have been distracted, hungry, tired, looking for my next quick read, and grabbing this book off the shelf in the memoir section was done by rote. I like non-fiction, I like memoirs, check.

Book 3, the one I am currently reading, out of sequence, clearly, had the more generic description by Publishers Weekly:
"It's hard to imagine readers failing to get a spiritual lift from The Irrational Season". I have faith that they are correct in this assertion. What I've already read, one chapter, fifteen pages, I definitely took in, digested, and thought about, am still thinking about.

Book 4, entitled Two-Part Invention, is reviewed by someone named Diane Cole from USA Today (the books are circa-mid-seventies timeframe) and says this:
"L'Engle's chronicle is filled with a sense of the adventure of life, as well as with an awareness of the terrible surprises that lie in wait for all of us..."

At this point I really thought that I had not chosen to read this book. I felt, rather, that the book had chosen me, to read it.

It gives me something to mull over when I am awake in the middle of the night, staring out the window of my Toronto apartment, having a warm drink.

No comments:

Post a Comment