Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Magical Quality of the Words of Others.


From the time I learned to read, I have devoured the written word. I was voracious in my appetite to lose myself in the words of others.

For several years, I'd felt I had lost some of that, the knack of losing myself in a novel, or staying with a piece of nonfiction because I found the subject matter fascinating. The words seemed to get lost in the foggy void of depression I guess. I suppose if I want to be completely honest here, everything in my life was lost in the mists of my inner misery.

I am awakening though, words have meaning for me again. Life once again has meaning. I care deeply again. A sign of healing? Maybe.

How do I know I am awakening? Hmmm...because I can read again, for the pure enjoyment of it, and occasionally certain passages send out sparkles of recognition, and leave an impression.

In my years of reading fiction to escape my "real" life, I've chanced across many authors, some good, some great, some bad, some really really bad. I read almost anything. Which is good I think, I rarely discount something just because it is of a certain genre.

An author I have rediscovered is Dean Koontz. I've read some of his horror novels in the past, nothing about them really struck me as particularly fascinating. Nothing about them had me thinking ... I want to read everything this author has written (that does happen on occasion). I don't even remember any of the titles, nor the stories, but I know I've read a few. Several years ago my son brought home one of Koontz's novels featuring the character Odd Thomas. A strange, quirky young man, lovable in some ways, if one can love a character, I know I hold some sort of surreal affection for this fictional young man. The Odd Thomas stories have made me a fan of Mr. Koontz. We, my son and I, have read several of the novels centered around this Shakespeare quoting young man. The most recent I've read is entitled Odd Hours. It doesn't have a particularly fascinating plot line, it's a suspense novel, but I really didn't care how it would end, I didn't really care to try solve the mystery. Odd Thomas himself once again held me in his grasp. There is just something about Odd Thomas that draws me in. I find myself ruminating on his words. Thoughts that in some way have inspired me to want to move forward with my life. Nonsensical I'm sure, but I found myself dog earing pages, so I could reread some of the passages. I have not sought permission to quote him here, (had that problem once before), but I'm gonna anyway. (Until, or unless they request I remove them)

* * * * * * *

Odd Hours

Page 119: "When I am battered and oppressed by the world that humanity has made--which is different from the world that it was given--my primary defense, my consolation, is the absurdity of that world.

The given world dazzles with wonder, poetry, and purpose. The man made world, on the other hand, is a perverse realm of ego and envy, where power-mad cynics make false idols of themselves and where the meek have no inheritance because they have gladly surrendered it to their idols in return not for lasting glory but for an occasional parade, not for bread but for the promise of bread.

A species that can blind itself to the truth, that can plunge so enthusiastically along roads that lead nowhere but to tragedy, is sometimes amusing in its recklessness, as amusing as the great movie comedians like Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, and the many others who knew that a foot stuck in a bucket is funny, that a head stuck in a bucket is funnier, and that trying stubbornly to move a grand piano up a set of stairs obviously too steep and narrow to allow success is the hilarious distillation of the human experience.

I laugh with humanity, not at it, because I am as big a fool as anyone, and bigger than most."

Page 121: "... I was incomplete without a family of close friends. I am no good alone. I need bonds, vows real if unspoken, shared laughter, and people who depend on me as I depend on them."

Page 167: "I love novels about road trips, about characters who walk out of their lives, who get on a bus or in a car and go. Just go. They leave the world behind and find something new.

Page 177: " Loss is the hardest thing, ... But it's also the teacher that's the most difficult to ignore."

... "Grief can destroy you--or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. Or you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn't allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it's over and you're alone, you begin to see it wasn't just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing the floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deepest beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can't get off your knees for a long time, you're driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life."

Page 187: "By doing, I learn what to do. By going, I learn where to go. One day, by dying, I'll learn how to die, and leave the world and hope to land in light."

* * * * * * *

Words, just words, but words I wish to remember.

5 comments:

Mom to the Girls said...

Sunny, once again... I find so much fuel just reading you! Now, of course I have to get the book too. Thank you so very much for always sharing so honestly and with so much passion. I need that somedays; somedays more than others but still... I need.

Sunny Delight said...

mom to the girls,
Wow, you flatter me, thank you for writing such nice things. I am pleased these excerpts resonate with you too. I know I will be reading the next Odd Thomas novel if there is one.

M@ said...

When i was a teenager, I loved Dean Koontz. I wanted to be a horror writer.

plan0 said...

I find somehow I've lost what I once had - reading novels. I haven't red a book through in almost 15 years, when I used to read 2-3 novels a week. Too much time studying, too much time working, not enough time.

Keep reading babe :)

Jonas said...

The long pg. 177 quote about loss and grief hit me especially hard.