"If writers possess a common temperament, it's that they tend to be shy egomaniacs; publicity is the spotlight they suffer for the recognition they crave." Gail Caldwell, from her book "Let's Take The Long Way Around"

"To look life in the face, always to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. . .always the years. Always the love. Always the hours." From the movie "The Hours", based on the book of the same name by Michael Cunningham

"Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly." Baz Luhrman, "Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)"

"A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibility of their own souls." Walt Whitman

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant or talented?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williamson

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Seedling Thoughts

I don't know if this counts as a proper blog post or not.  It's been a long time since I've added to this blog, but I have a lot of thoughts going through my head because of the latest book I've read, "Wake" by Anna Hope.

It's written by a British author and takes place in 1920, following the aftermath of WWI.  She does a wonderful job of painting a realistic picture of what life in London must have been like with all the returning war veterans and the absence of those who died during the war.  The story is told mostly from the perspective of women which gave me great insight into what life must have been like for them, left at home while their beloved men went off to fight, seemingly doing their duty, motivated by a great cause, propagandized by the governments of both sides.

It's a beautifully, poignantly, honestly written book that reminded me of another masterful book that I read last year, "Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson.  That book spans both World Wars and is entirely different in terms of the style of narrative.  It's similarity is in that it features strong female characters juxtaposed against a war-torn England and a host of mentally and physically deformed veterans.

I was moved to think about women in the U. S. during these times.  I had coincidentally watched an episode of "America:  The Story of Us" which depicted American women going to work in munitions factories during WWII, risking their own lives for the sake of the war and their men abroad.  Watching this, there is no wonder that when their soldiers returned and women were expected to fall back into their roles as housewives and homemakers, there would be fall-out, which makes me think of two other books I've read and loved, "The Hours" by Michael Cunningham and "Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates.

Both of these stories depict restless women yearning to break out of their societal roles, plunged into depression and despair of ever doing anything remarkable, held back by the men they love because they love them.  Throughout all of these books there is this idea of trying to reconnect pre and post war, which conjures a visual for me:  a friend of mine broke her foot a year ago, and in spite of all attempts it refused to heal because the bone had fractured in a way that one part was resting higher than the other half.  It took surgery to realign the bones to make them meet again so they would fuse together.

I haven't thought this all out too clearly - these are just thoughts that struck me, moved as I was by "Wake."  It's an excellent read, rich in language that conjures imagery and feeling.  One feels transported, and it's hard to believe the author did not live through these actual events herself.  At any rate, I had to get this out of my head.  Maybe someday I'll do something with it.  In the meantime, check these out, if you haven't already: