Archive for March 26th, 2011

Watercolor - Eagle on the Breath of Dawn - Susan H. Hajec

I picked up two paperback books last week, spur of the moment. It was just time to read some fiction, non-recommended nor even heard about. I love to choose paperbacks just by their cover illustration and the little bit that is written about the book in the introductory pages and the back cover. When my own books are published, I am going to be very fussy and intuitive about what should be on these parts of my own books. 

I selected, “Sandcastles” by Luanne Rice. I was attracted by the blues and lavenders  in the sky and hints of pink coral on the early evening beach. I could hear the waves roll in with the tide which left the foamy white edge to the sea. And the beautiful young woman, with the long white beach dress and straw hat, was walking along the star-reflected beach with the most exquisite slim figure I had always wanted to have in my own life.

So much for the cover. I knew I’d like the book, and I’d looked far enough into the pages to know it wove a story about Irish generations and secrets brought forward to touch the lives of her characters. I wasn’t disappointed in the book at all. It had merit and depth and romance with no easy solutions to the problems encountered along the way. A page turner any author attempts to sculp into her/his story….that if you have to leave the book for a short while, say perhaps to carry on with your own life, you know you won’t be away from it for long. Except…..for when you get to that one certain part which I will talk about later.

The second book was written by Susan Richards, who holds a master of social work degree, works in the addiction recovery field and teaches writing…and she holds that perennial undergraduate degree in English that naysayers have much to naysay about. I mainly picked this book because of that description of the author, but also because there was a picture of a horse on the front cover and the word, horse, in the title. “Chosen by a Horse”, how a broken horse fixed a broken heart.

It was a brave and honest memoir of how this woman, in her forties, added an abused horse to her stable of three others. It is a touching tale of how the woman had protected herself and come to terms with an abusive childhood without her own mother and how this horse, through its open acceptance and trust of her after she had nearly been killed by humans, helped her heal and open to the possibilities the would arise in the rest of her life.

It was a faster read than the other, helped along with a sense of humor that takes some of the bang out of the worst bounces in life.

In both books, I noticed where I started to drag my reading out. This is the part of books I wanted to talk about.

I’d gotten through the mysteries that lay in the history or the current actions of the main characters, what I didn’t know was going to happen…had happened; where I had guessed wrong had been corrected by the author’s pen and understanding of her story….and the story was winding down. And I knew that. So I started reading shorter sections and leaving the book down for a longer period of time in between readings (not really very long though because I was truly engaged in both books).

I had to leave the book down to keep the story going for me. The final pages were approaching quickly and then it would be over.  How I hate to part with my characters.  What power the author has when I really don’t want to leave their world, but when their words stop, I have no choice but to leave or revisit the same story, which I also do. Then I want to give it to someone to read, but I don’t want to part with my book.

My life now feels like the slow-down part of a good novel for me. I have a bevy of characters and lots of short stories that make up my life. I have losses, dramas, but also the joys and graces of a life I am grateful to have lived. Now I just want it to slow down somewhat…..drag on a bit. I’m not in as much of a hurry. Multi-tasking holds no thrill for me now.

I just truly enjoy doing what I do for as long as it takes me to do it. I have lived my life as a “we” for the greater part, marrying right out of college, and family becoming the hub of the wheel of a blessed, yet adventuresome life. Now as family expands into the grandchildren generation, Tom and I continue to create intentions and plans for the “we-ness” we will share into our seventh decade of life.

Keeping our bodies in the best physical shape we can is high on the priority list and good nutrition and exercise and movement and spiritual centerness give us the zest for “apple pie in the sky high hopes” but we are slower…no doubt about it.  Just like reading a good book, we also want to stretch this experience out to seem like it’s taking more time than it actually is.

Also with a book, I have always been tempted when really challenged by the intensity of the plot, to “peek ahead” and be sure it is going to be ok. Most of the times, I’ve been able to overcome this and not spoil it for myself, but on occasion, I confess, I’ve skipped some pages and returned later.

Right now in my life is the time I used to want to “page forward” to during years past when confronted by my own misadventures or messes that I was not sure were going to right themselves. I wanted to know how it was all going to turn out, how we would be at this time now. But see, I wanted to know too soon. I had to live the pages in between then and now.

What it feels like now is we are going to get a chance for a real-life sequel. Our plots have played themselves out, our family is raised, and we are in an ideal relationship in the family nucleus, interrelating in a most satisfying way. I understand that this is not always the way it turns out, but it turned out this way for us.

Now, Tom and I are sequel-bound.  Hummm, let’s look at the bookshelf once again.

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