Thursday, April 14, 2011

On contrasting writing styles

I am reading Anne Rice's Of Love and Evil. It's been a few years since I've read her, and this piece is more simply written than I remember her work to be. After reading John Irving's dark complexity this book seems rather one-note though much more optimistic (thankfully.) I had to take a break from his wearisome fatalism. Yes life is peppered with harsh realities, but it is also flooded with light. The tale he tells in A Widow for One Year is a masterpiece of interwoven subtleties and human frailties. I was initially intimidated by the depth of texture. But halfway through I feel beaten down. The hero is mostly a wienie. The heroine is simultaneously selfish and self-hating. Perhaps this will all resolve itself into something more hopeful than what has unfolded so far but that's not at all certain. I could very well reach the end of the book and feel worse than I did halfway through. I'll admire Irving for his finely honed craft, but feel like crap.

In contrast, while Rice's book also deals with the darkness of the human soul, albeit on a one-note level, it is ultimately hopeful.

It is interesting to contrast writing styles, both in the way that they handle the darkness and light of life, and in the handling of how they actually put the story into words.

But that's a topic for another post.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Settled... mostly

It has been a month since my last post, and I am finally settled into a new/old apartment in New England with DiDi. It is in the oldest house on a small street (built in the early 1700's) in the center of the village. Every pine floor tilts and twists, making furniture positioning a challenge.

We created a small writing nook for me overlooking the street. Empty bookshelves wait to be filled. This morning, rain droplets surrealize the view. It is quiet, save for the hum and click of this machine. Stasia's breath next to the keyboard can't be heard. She leans against it and against my hand as I type. We have reached an agreement in this way; she wants my hands actively touching her, I want my hands actively typing. Compromise is required.

For the first time in my life, I am supremely, profoundly, peacefully happy. I am at peace. It is what I have always longed for; simple peace. Although living like a college student in too little space with very little money, I have finally achieved what I always wanted.

Peace.

Simply peace.

An interesting cat, a public library three blocks away, the best of all possible friends, and peace.

I didn't expect it so soon. I'm still not sure why it was important to leave town before my son's graduation, when there were only a few months to go. My sole pain lies in the distance from him, and from my daughter who lives her own new life, across the country. But I walk in faith and trust that He has this in His hands, and that all will be reconciled eventually.

And so I wait, and rest, in peace.