Yes, I have been talking a lot about Tigana, but, I could honestly talk about that book forever. Shawn Micheal and I are getting close to the end. I know what’s coming up for him and I know that he is going to have some major reactions. I can’t wait.
After I wrote my last post about my boy and Tigana, two awesome things happened. First, Guy Gavriel himself read the post and tweeted it. I, obviously, fan-girled out like a little geek with the news. I have had interactions of varying kinds with favourite authors over the years but this one ranked up pretty damn high. The second thing was that my longest-known dearest friend in the world Sarah sent me a text message. It seems in our 20 years of friendship, we had never really talked about (or, we’re so old now we don’t remember) the fact that we BOTH love GGK. Where my favourite book is Tigana, hers is The Lions of Al-Rassan, a book I have on my bookshelf (okay, I have ALL his books on my bookshelf) but have not picked up in a long time. A really long time. I had forgotten everything about it. The last book of his I read was Under Heaven and even that was about three years ago. Tigana I read at least once a year and I am immersed in it at the moment but, Shawn and I read right after school. I write during the day and I needed something new to read at night.
What’s the point of having all these books by your favourite (tied for fav with Maeve Binchy) author if you don’t read them? Books need to be loved. They need to be lifted down from the shelves every so often and have their pages lovingly touched and turned. So, I grabbed Al-Rassan and put it on my night stand for bedtime reading.
Now, updates and context.
Yesterday I got back from Halifax. I had been working on “Room 15”, the book I’m writing about Shawn and I and his heart attack. This book has become something of a ‘here is your life’ moment since you can’t really talk about the impact a massive health issue has without first talking about the relationship. You can’t talk about how much stress is a factor without showing where all the stress was. I have been getting massive blocks of work done but it has been emotional. I haven’t even gotten to the actual cardiac arrest yet and so I’m sure there is more emotion to come. Point one: emotions already on the surface….more so than usual.
Point two: when I got home, as promised, I took the kids out and we picked up two movies. The final Hobbit movie for Shawn Micheal, and Into the Woods. Last night after dinner we watched Into the Woods. Towards the end of that movie there are a few scenes that hit kind of close to home.
“Sometimes people leave you…..”
I started to cry. Of course I did. I cry over everything and that’s okay. I had just about managed to let it all get out of my system, and the kids and I watched Survivor and I went up to bed.
I had left Al-Rassan here while I was away because I was down to the very end of the book, right before the last battle. I knew it would be a big distraction and I wanted to be able to focus on what I had to do so the book remained on my bedside. Last night I picked it up to finish it.
Sarah said something to me in text when we were discussing our love for GGK’s writing, she said:
“That is what I can’t figure out. Each word he writes is normal and common…how does he put them together so that I question the moral fabric of our species and feel as though a portion of my soul has been ripped?” “There is an aching desperation in each novel, I usually find myself holding my breath and scrambling to fit someone or something into a mould that is ‘neat and tidy’, I always fail because that is not truth.”
And she summed it up perfectly. As I read those last pages last night, knowing that something horrible and awful was going to happen, knowing that he would take me on this journey with the characters and I would feel raw and exposed after reading it, I let the tears fall again from my face.
Shawn always knows when I’m having an emotional moment with a book. He says he can hear my breathing change. I try to control the reactions I’m going to have so that I just cry and don’t outright sob. It’s not always a battle I can win. Especially after everything we’ve been through.
So I was thinking as I fell asleep last night about all the books I’ve read over time and the ones that have stood out to me the most and the ones that have affected me the deepest. I thought about snippets of writing that I’ve read from various sources, whether it be short, two paragraph pieces that a friend has emailed me, or four pages hand written by my daughter, or huge epic novels by beloved authors. I thought about times when my own writing has caused me to either bounce in my seat at the computer with sheer joy or weep and let my tears fall as I type. I realized Sarah has it completely right. They are just normal, common words. It’s what we do with them that has the ability to impact.
I’m back to my own writing today. More blood on the page, as I was once counselled.
I don’t think I will ever stop loving books. The ones I read, the ones I write.
Because we all know, words are power. And power can be a beautiful, terrible thing.