Saturday, April 23, 2005

I've been out doing some readings for the paperback release of The Rope Eater, during what has been a long and cold winter, and in the midst of a turbulent and sad time. I have found that my perspective on the book is shifting--I finished writing it almost four years ago now--and the world was a very different one then.

For the paperback readings, I've chosen different sections of the book to read, to keep the material fresh for myself and to make sure I was not just telling the same stories over and over ('yes, the Shackleton ad, the figure-skater, we get it already!'). And different sections of the book have taken on new meaning and resonance, while others have faded. At the risk of great narcissism, I thought I'd share one that has been echoing steadily of late:

You want for your heart to break and it doesn't, for your body to fail and it doesn't--for the world to end, but, remorseless world without end, the punishing sun arises and winds begin again to blow.

Some call this bleak (!), but it has in it also the seeds of what I see as redemptive--that the continuity forces change, and teaches that change is inevitable--the mind wants to hold onto what it knows, but there is no holding and that causes great pain. It is the sun that is bringing that message--dawn, light, beginnings. I think the pain of endings is easy enough to see, but the pain of beginnings, of needing to begin and begin again is something else entirely.


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