Sunday, February 12, 2006
Mysteries & Revolutions!
Look at the little set of journals I couldn't resist buying this weekend! This is an addiction I'm sure I share with very very many other folks who may find their way to this post: journal-buying. Like candy! And it's so exciting to imagine what may fill them some day. It strums at the mind. A dozen little polka-dotted journals that will someday jostle and overflow with ideas and quotes and swatches of fabric and little doodles... a future of ideas. That's what a blank book is! I will likely begin with one of my lists of the projects that need immediate attention. Such a calming thing to do, list-making. Reading Meg's entry about picking a direction when many different ideas tug at you, I can relate absolutely. Jim and I have known for years what our super power of choice would be: the ability to stop time, just for ourselves, and while everyone was frozen in place we'd get to go on creating, writing, snatching necessary naps, squeezing more juice out of each day. (If we ever get this gift out of a super power grab bag, I'll let worthy kindred spirits in on it too!) It can be overwhelming when the ideas flow too fast.
There must be a stern little custodian at the gate of ideas (I imagine this gate to be in one's ear, somehow, that that's where the ideas, like little people, come and go) who lets out only a few at a time. This little man, he has quite a serious mustache that he grooms like it's a pet, a great ring of keys at his hip, a pocket watch, and a persnickety look on his face and he is unmoved by the pleading and wheedling of ideas. He is disciplined, even if I am not. His job is to keep me from being overrun by ideas, trampled and exhausted by them. He requires that I make lists. The lists give ideas physical reality even before I have followed through on their creation, and my reward is getting to check them off! So many, many ideas, I must not ever let them learn that if they wanted to they could overpower me. They would start a revolution. I would be powerless!
While we were in Seattle this weekend, Alexandra and I shared a lament to boredom. That is, to the fact that there are folks who reach their hands out into this mysterious, twirling, seething, wild, heartbreaking, sonorous world and manage to come back with... nothing. That there are folks with a capacity for boredom!! Impossible! Unimaginable! Infuriating! They should be forced to surrender their dead time to those of us who can find a use for it! This world is many things. It is wicked and vulgar, it is thrilling and uplifting, it teems with kindness and grace and cruelty and tragedy, it is by turns funny, horrifying, delicious, capricious, bitter and sweet and a million other things, and it is never ever ever ever ever boring!
I just finished reading a book that lit my mind on fire in the best possible way -- A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. Read it! Read it! (And her other books too.) It's a novel about the Italian resistence in the final years of World War II and the remarkable way the Italian people rallied to protect both native and refugee Jews at tremendous cost to themselves, saving nearly 50,000 lives (true). It's a story about the best and worst of humanity, about dirt-poor uneducated peasants who would sooner starve than turn over fellow humans for a reward, even strangers, even to feed their own children. It's one of those books - my favorite kind of book - that lights up a shadowy corner of history and makes it real and human in a way only fiction can do, because it takes fiction to give fact flesh. It's one of those books that when you read it, you have a feeling that if only everyone would read it, the world would learn something and become a better place. Wishful thinking, but it makes you want to proselytize for it, so I am: read it! And if you do, let me know!
One final thing, one of my favorite quotes:
"I would rather live in a world surrounded by mystery, than live in a world so small my mind could comprehend it all."
- Harry Emerson Fosdick
Posted by Laini Taylor at 10:37 PM