Tag Archive | novels

Your Brain on Fiction

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I have known that reading fiction can help deepen our empathy, understanding, and compassion for real people and real life situations. I experienced this myself in some ways and it just makes sense. When we see people in real life acting certain ways that seem unusual or negative, we may be quick to judge that person. We have no idea why this person is acting this way. We don’t know exactly what is going on in that person’s life or head. But in fiction, the author let’s us into the heads and lives of the characters. We have a very good idea why the characters do certain things where in real life, we often have no idea. In fiction, we can judge less because we understand and know better.  
For example, I recently read a novel (Killing Me Softly by Bianca Sloane) where a lady is being abused by her husband in every way there is to be abused. Sexually, other physical ways (hit, knocked to the floor, locked in a closet…), emotionally (he treats her as if she is less than him), and verbally(calls her insults and things). 
This lady is basically a prisoner in her own house. The neighbors would judge her thinking she’s freaky and a weirdo. She would act strange in public, hardly speaking to anyone, even neighbors, always being in a hurry to get home, acting fearful and urgent, dressed in very bland, unusual clothing because he forced her to, out of fear that other men would be attracted to her.
These neighbors had no idea what was going on with her but we, the readers are aware and instead of judging her as being a “freak,” we can have compassion instead. 
But what if this were reality and we were the real neighbors to her. We would have no idea what’s going on with her. We couldn’t get into her head like we can when she’s the character in a novel. 
Would we judge her, think of her as the “weirdo” of the street? Would we stop and think maybe the poor girl is suffering or just needs some love & compassion?
My compassion & empathy have always been very developed in general but I notice that fiction opens me up even more.

I have also read many other realistic novels where characters would act in a bizarre or very unpleasant way, provoked by horrific things that happened to them.
Some characters, I judged negatively myself and also would have if they were real people. Some of these characters are violent or bitter or just not appealing. 
Then the authors let me into their heads, allowing me to observe and feel every emotion and thought the person has(we can’t always do this with real people because we aren’t in their heads but the characters are realistic and have similar experiences to real people), and I understood better and made it a point to try to show and have more compassion in person to real people. 

I think this is a good reminder to develop stronger compassion and understanding for people in general. Unlike in fiction, we have no idea why they do what they do. Maybe they are suffering, being abused, mentally ill….we can’t possibly know completely what someone else’s life is like. Let’s try to better understand and be slower to judge. Compassion is always good even if someone isn’t suffering, compassion as a way of life is beautiful.

I think fiction can help open our minds and help us deepen our empathy & compassion in general.

And I just discovered this essay, while reading various things about psychology, the brain, neuroscience, and studies. This happened to show up and is fascinating! 

The Neuroscience of Your Brain on Fiction by Annie Paul – mobile version

I can’t for the life of me find out how to get the non mobile/desktop link.

Maybe this?

or you can just look it up if you want:

Your Brain on Fiction
The Neuroscience of Your Brain on Fiction

By ANNIE MURPHY PAUL
MARCH 17, 2012

It brings two of my favorite things together, brain studies or research and reading fiction! Very interesting!  

It shows that while reading fiction, our brains have extremely similar reactions as when we are involved in real life situations.
The brain, in some way, can’t tell the difference even though we know it’s not real. Our brain can’t completely distinguish fantasy and fiction. Some parts of our brain takes fiction for being real. 
This is a good reason to be careful what we read. Too much horror and heavy stuff can drag us down and generate negative energy. It’s good to mix it up a bit and read things to immerse our self in positive energy. 

Also the studies suggest that reading fiction does help deepen our empathy. And to rule out the possibility that it’s just people who happen to be more empathetic who read more, the researchers accounted for that. They did studies with pre-school children. When they read stories to them, the little kids seemed to develop better understanding for real life. It makes perfect sense to me! And I think it also applies watching movies. 

I hope you are having a great day/night!
😀

Xoxo Kim ❤

Fear & Hunger

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(me then & now)

“Winning isn’t everything. The will to win is the only thing.”

It seems that some emotions or feelings such as fear of death or fear of anything really, and desire for things or people we can’t or shouldn’t have are viewed negatively by many people. Viewed as a weakness, a flaw, something to avoid at all costs. There are self-help books and teachings designed to help us not be afraid and to not desire. Not to fear death or how to overcome the fear of death, not just overcoming an unhealthy phobia but even just any natural, primitive fear of death. Not to feel desire, to not want things we do not have, to just be content with what we already have or to be happy with very little. To not want more. To not want material things because material things are bad and desire is reprehensible. To not feel disappointed if we can’t get more.

It’s like a rebellion against the media, advertising, commercialism, and consumerism.

These are good things. We don’t want fear taking over our lives or being too frequent. And it’s not good to ignore our current blessings just to want more, more, more.

Too much restlessness and ungratefulness are not good.

We often think of disappointment, the feelings we have after not succeeding or getting what we want, wanting what we can’t have, as a bad thing. Sometimes we may feel guilty for acting or feeling ungrateful.

Maybe we feel wimpy for being afraid.

But fear, hunger, and desire are beautiful things. They are not bad. They are not an indication that we are bad or wrong or ungrateful or that we need fixing. We don’t need self help books or anything to help us completely obliterate fear & desire.

It’s fantastic to be happy with very little or with everything we already have but there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging those things with gratitude while also desiring other things now & then.

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I see things in a way that I would never have if I never suffered with depression. I see through a lens of depression, even when I’m not depressed. (it’s a good thing) I see through depression tinted glasses. Even when I’m very happy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

No matter how happy I am, no matter how healed I am in general, I will never lose touch with my depressed self and the deep wisdom it has shown me. And I don’t ever want to lose touch with that part of me.

There are lessons and observations and truths bubbling in my core, ingrained into me, resting in the crevices of my brain, that I would not have come to realize any other way.

For many, many years I suffered with depression and often, very little to no desire, hunger, or fear. Many days, I did not want anything. I did not fear anything. I did not care about anything. There was no hunger for life. No hunger to win. No hunger to get better.

I often did not care if I lived or died. This was not always true. My depression would always lift after a while and I would be happy again. And often, even with depression, I would still have desire, hunger, fear. Often, I would see a carnival or amusement park or jewelry and just have to have it, even as an adult and even while depressed, I would experience joy at seeing an amusement park and run to ask my dad to take my sister and me. Even with depression, I felt the joy. But there was also that other kind of depression that would come and go and I would not have any desire at all. This depression would occur too often but was not the most common. Then all depression would leave me and I would be happy.

When I was a little girl I wanted everything. I wanted every toy in every store. I wanted to go out and play with my friends. I looked up at the sky and I hungered for more. I hungrily devoured the scents, the feels, the sights and sounds, the tastes of Nature. The taste of salt water as the strong Ocean’s waves washed over me, the feel of the dirt that got under my fingernails as I rolled around in the lot my friends and me played in. The blueness of the sky that pierced my matching oceanic blue eyes as I stared innocently into the sun until it blinded me and all I saw were specks of unknown galaxies and dark black shadows of mystery. Mysteries lost in the whites of my eyes, sparkling amidst the invisible spaces of my corneas.

Mysteries I longed to know. But loved the obscurity of.

My immense love for water bugs, roaches, and my wonder at maggots turning into flies almost matched my love for caterpillars, butterflies, songbirds, and the
colorful flowers that bloomed into Spring. This seemed to baffle most of those around me, both the other kids as well as adults. How could anyone love such ugly, repulsive things? The other kids would run screaming at the first sight of a big brown roach while I would drop to my knees in awe and watch closely as one would turn over and play dead. Then I would playfully imitate the scene, lying on my back with my arms and legs crumpled up, tongue sticking out, trying hard not to laugh. I loved the disgust on the faces of those in my audience.

Or I would watch a white maggot squirm and wonder what they’re made of. What makes them white? What gives them the ability to move? Do they have insides like people? Like me? Does a maggot have a heart? My innocent, curious little girl thoughts swirled around inside my head. There was no Internet I was aware of. I couldn’t easily look it up like I can now. So I wondered. I contemplated. I entertained an infinity of ideas, in my little girl ways.

The Internet is a great gift to the world but the absence of the Internet in childhood is also a great, valuable gift. I am happy I had no Internet.

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Bumble bees never scared me like they scared the other kids, even after I was painfully stung by one in the neck and my mom had to remove the stinger as I yelled in anguish and confusion. I would chase them just to catch a glimpse of that yellow fuzz that decorates their bodies, getting as close as I can, feeling a deep connection to another living, beautiful creature. Not very unlike myself. I wanted to run my finger along that fuzz. I never killed insects or bugs out of fear, dislike, or to capture that magical green glow of fireflies in my hands, on a hot Summer night.

I knew that would be one of the worst offenses anyone can commit in this life, like stealing a star out of the sky and keeping it all to myself or taking a jellyfish out of the ocean just to see through that thick clear gelatinous body
all the way through to the spineless depths of her being.

I would look up at a navy, starless midnight sky and just know somewhere deep inside there were no stars because they all burned out, not being able to stand the heaviness and constancy of my endless, annoying wishes. I felt that they had secrets I was never meant to know. I felt both sadness and awe. Awe, a feeling of great wonder, deep inspiration, and a strange kind of fear and respect.

I couldn’t think in these words or concepts at such a young, innocent age. But I felt it in my bones. I felt it venturing throughout my veins and electrifying with each pulsation of my beautiful heart that pounds through my chest. The rhythm of life pounding through me.

I still feel it.

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As a little girl, my friends and me would build tents out of sleeping bags and sheets and blankets and beach towels, building tents to huddle in and play house together, and pretending as if these tents were our hideouts deep into some lost, secluded woods where we were being chased by a big bad wolf or a deranged stranger, I noticed the rough and smooth sounds of the sheets and nylon sleeping bags as they gently brushed together. I was struck by the infinite beauty of something so simple. Time stood still.

Listen to that! It’s like music!

Kim, you’re just crazy!

Maybe.

I would eat fun-dip candy until my tongue bled and stung, like catching a mini falling star on the tip of my tongue as if it were a snowflake. I would stare at the white stick streaked with my blood, my beautiful life sustaining fluid, in awe. There was something wondrous about eating delicious colored powder until my little tongue started leaking pink-red blood onto white. There was something thrilling about that sting. The coppery, metallic taste in combination with the sweetness of powder. I loved the burn in my chest. I would happily run to inform my mom, as if it were my greatest accomplishment. Holding up the white stick to show her this magic I discovered. But my wonder was never met with satisfaction and praise as I always hoped. Instead my mom would tell me to quit eating the candy.

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Unlike most kids I knew, I happily anticipated going back to school when Summer ended and shopping with my mom for school supplies, shoes, and clothes. I couldn’t sleep the night before my first day back. Happy, grateful thoughts raced across my mind. I wanted to get up and dance. I wondered who I would meet. What would I learn? Even now the memory of that feeling thrills me. The great potential of meeting new friends, seeing old friends, the thrill of new teachers, and learning new things I would run home to proudly share with my mom and dad. Wondering what desk I would sit at, what kids I would be grouped with, who would my work partners and playmates be…

I loved shopping not just to get the stuff but the whole feel of shopping for it with my mom, seeing all the other shoppers, the feel of the back to school spirit all around me, the endless commercials advertising impressive things for going back to school. The scent of new, blank notebooks with white, lined pages just waiting to be filled and freshly sharpened pencils and broken crayons in a multitude of fascinating colors with fascinating names. “Tickle me pink.”

The big fruit scented markers in a disarray of colors and soft, squishy pencil erasers that felt like rubbery cement upon my fingertips. The various shapes of pencil sharpeners. I even loved the idea of white-out and couldn’t wait to make mistakes just to get to white it out. I loved the containers it always came in, the little bottles and then the other kind that came out, no longer like liquidy liquid but a little sponge that smoothly glides across the paper.

I always loved how it smelled mixed with paper and ink as it wafted up to tickle the scilia in my nose. In school we were not usually permitted to use pens so I had no use for white-out so my mom and dad would buy me it for home. I cherished the opportunity to give out valentine’s day and Christmas cards with paper hearts and candy canes taped on and would usually make one up for every kid in class. It felt so beautiful making them all happy with a sweet little card and I always had some to bring home too with sweet little messages of friendship.

I loved the feel of being in school surrounded by other kids, cared for by teachers. Immersed in the glow of the whole environment. My hungry curiosity soaking up all the information my little brain could hold. I took in all the fragrances of the classroom, the smell of food, pencil lead and shavings, washable, markers, non toxic paint, clay…,the chatter, the laughter, and all the emotions swirling about, through the air. People, children & adults alike, always told my mom how “crazy” it is a girl can love school so much.

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Each day after school, I couldn’t wait til my friends came out and we ran through the streets and the abandoned lots. We snuck up onto the railroad and secretly climbed the gates to trespass into people’s backyards with the possibility of getting caught hanging over our heads, both thrilling us and frightening us.

As I sit here and write this, I can smell the fragrance of the green grass that filled my nose and lungs in the Summers all those years ago, I can smell the sundrenched metal on my hands after climbing the fence surrounding the big lot we played in, I can feel the richness of the soil we buried treasures in and searched for wiggly worms in with our bare hands and little fingers, I can taste the magic of the glistening snowflakes as they landed on my tongue in the dead of Winter, I feel the crisp Fall air as it caressed my skin, I feel the rainy mist and the floral beauty of Spring as it bloomed into my essence after that long, cold slumber finally ended. I hear the childish screams and laughter, the innocent taunts “takes one to know one! Last one there is a chicken brain…! I’m rubber you’re glue whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you! Traitor! Dirtball! Kimbo Bimbo!!

I can still hear the songs we listened to as our small bodies happily danced up and down the street, the songs that skipped and stopped and started back up as a result of my scratched up CD’s I never took good care of. I can feel the sunlight dancing upon the rain puddles after a heavy storm and the bruises and burns of the scrapes, like little sun beams, that adorned my knees as I did somersaults, went tumbling endlessly down the hills we used to play upon near the railroad, only to smack hard into the low concrete walls that surrounded the sandy, rocky spaciousness when I reached the end, and burst out laughing.

My Earth colored hair soaked in mud and sweat and grit as it tangled into an unrecognizable mass of chaos and beautiful destruction.

I can taste it today.

I sit here and my head overflows like cauldrons of emotion, nostalgia, longing, joy, happiness, pain, a deep ache way deep inside in some mysterious place of me I can’t quite identify, crackling and sizzling to the brim, on an old stove as brilliant purple and orange flames swallow it up. I see colors and stars and thousands of burning suns and glowing moons, everywhere.

It reminds me of a line in LeeAnn Womack’s song, “I Hope You Dance”. One I reference often.

“…get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger.”

I was satisfied with the beauty all around me but I always wanted more. I got my fill but I kept that hunger. Each day I couldn’t wait to go outside and play in the dirt, the snow, the grass, the rain and oily, muddy puddles my feet loved to dance in, the leaves, the worms and rolly pollies….I was astounded by the beauty in every form it came to me. My senses passionately, greedily devoured every bit of it. I was filled with wonder & awe. And I was very aware of this wonder and awe that always breathed in my lungs and flowed with my blood like a starry serenade.

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I desired things I couldn’t always have. I wanted every toy, every book, every pair of shoes the instant I saw them and I would throw brief conniptions Sometimes on the rare occasions I was told no. I thought it was the worst thing to want and not get.

I also felt fear. I feared my own death even though I was too young to truly understand the full concept. I feared getting lost. I feared getting sick. I feared deeply. Fear did not take over my life but I experienced a healthy dose.

But then I gradually developed mild depression and I saw beauty still but not to the same depth. I couldn’t quite feel it as much. But it was still there. Then my lowgrade depression turned to severe, unbearable depression that consumed me in its darkness, pulling me into the secret black waters of its depths, I was submerged in despair, hit like a bag of bricks, with this thick, heavy darkness, and I saw beauty but almost never felt it as deeply. It jumped out at me and I noticed it to some degree, still noticing the simplest things it seemed no one else noticed or cared for, like the taste of cold air, the sounds of crickets, the smoothness of floor tiles, the cars and trucks sloshing through the rain in the flooded streets, the soles of shoes squeeking on bright white floors, the light reflections bouncing off of metal, the smell of hospitals and medicine and healing, the salty taste of longing, the way my soft hands feel in warm weather as they softly stroke utility poles and the wood of public benches, in fact, I seemed to notice it even more now…but it was shadowed by gray and darkness. I wanted to want it. But I just couldn’t to the extent I once hungered for it. And on some of those instances I paid too much attention and I did begin to really feel beauty again, I would shield myself against it, feeling as if I don’t deserve it, that this world is too beautiful for someone as ugly as me.

I noticed the city lights softly bathing the pavements and streets, the sounds of trains rolling across the tracks, the Beauty of the

soft rhythms of car horns in the distance late into the night while most of the world around me remained asleep, laughter out in the streets, the starlight illuminating the night, music notes riding the air as neighbors played love songs all night long, the wind that danced through my long hair. The scent of soil after the rain, the taste of cold air, the feel of soft fleece against my delicate, sensitive skin that brought me a sense of comfort, the sense of unity that surrounded me during the holidays, the creaking of floorboards beneath my feet, the green glow of fireflies, the gentle creases on people’s faces, the laughlines and the wisdom, the curve of shoulders, the little hairs in the big, dark, moles on the face of the girl I used to see on a bus often, the things I have always known are beautiful that others believe are ugly or not worth noticing. And it was all incredibly beautiful but too often I closed myself off to it.

I forced myself not to notice it. I wanted that beauty but I did not want to want it. I believed I wasn’t deserving and it hurt me. I have always been blessed with an ability to notice, acknowledge, and appreciate things, incredibly simple and mundane things, in a way it seems most around me almost never do or never notice and appreciate in the same way I always did. I have always loved simplicity and monotony. And not just the things themselves but the fact of experiencing them, the whole experience itself. And I have always lived in gratitude and some degree of mindfulness even before it became my intentional way of life. Even before I knew what gratitude or mindfulness even is.

I was never quite able to put it into words.

I was not brought up this way. It just lives in me. It always has. It always will.

Most children are more mindful and grateful than adults I believe, it’s a child’s nature, but mine seemed on fire and still is to this day. As we’re growing up, we often lose that sense of childish wonder to some extent, just getting caught up in the obligations and expectations and stresses of everyday life. Mine was hindered by depression but then brought back to life by depression way more intense than it was before depression.

Now even in the throes of a deep, deep depression, I don’t shield myself against that beauty. Instead, I cling to it for my life.

When I’m depressed, I can’t feel it to the same depth usually, as when I’m not depressed but I still easily notice it and can feel it to some degree. And I seize it and hold on tight.

Like a lifeboat out on some distant shore waiting for my grasp, promising to save me if only I reach out.

That wonder never left me completely.

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Even in a psychiatric hospital under suicide watch for weeks, as a young woman, when I got my hands on a pen without anyone knowing (mental patients weren’t allowed to have pens) I was thrilled beyond belief. A doctor accidentally left it on a table and the second he walked away I snatched it up and it hid it and when we had to sign in for a group therapy session I was just the coolest thing around, signing my name with a pen in big bold, blue, letters, while every other patient had to use a pencil. ;-D

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And the day I found a paperclip in the visiting room and hid it because it was just the most amazing thing to have a prohibited and somewhat sharp object in my possession while under suicide watch. I got both the pen and the clip taken off me when they saw me strolling the halls with them in my hands.

:-/

My mind drifts back now
to that moment my sense of taste returned while in the cafeteria, after what seemed like an eternity.

I am sitting around a small table with my friends who are not my friends but intimate strangers, all held together by some kind of lonely bond. No laces in our shoes, plastic forks and spoons, strings removed out of our hoods, plastic bracelet around my slender wrist bearing my name that then seemed
anomalous to me.

Struck by the sharp taste of the potatoes, struck in a delicious way, like meteor showers.
blasting through my whole being. Still so deeply and heavily depressed but

holding onto that moment as if my life depends on it. A moment surrounded by people who understand my pain and bizarre thoughts.

When they took me to the court of mental heath and I was the star of the show, I was fascinated. It felt so bizarre and so intriguing to be the center of attention, everyone talking about me but not to me. I wasn’t allowed to speak unless spoken to and no one spoke to me til the end when my lawyer and me lost the case and I was involuntarily hospitalized even longer. I sat in a zombified state, lifeless, sedated not by medication but deep emotional pain. But some moments my hunger returned. My hunger for knowledge, my fascination for how laws and courtrooms operate. Even in the midst of depression, there were always moments of joy, life, zest, beauty…Often, my depression was deep pain but on less common occasions, it was numb, lifelessness. This was even worse but especially made everything more beautiful when it would lift.

Even in my deepest, blackest despair in a mental hospital I stood with a young man, another sick patient, as we marveled at the vibrancy and color of the life in the courtyards outside the windows, just beyond our reach.
Tantalizing and beautiful. And heartbreaking. And breathtaking. We stood in breathless wonder, even while held in the agonizing bondage of our sickness, invisible fetters keeping us chained in darkness and psychosis.

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He brought my attention to it, bringing a small spark of life back into me, a thin sliver of feeling to my zombefied state when he showed me the solitary flower that seemed to blossom just for the two of us, reminding me that life still exists beyond the pain as he showed me a bright red flower bathing in the golden, fiery, sunlight. Even the thin sliver of life, that

sparkle of electricity that surged through my body was enough in that moment. Just enough. This reminded me and continues to remind me to grasp and embrace whatever gems of beauty are before me, surrounding me, within me, in any form they exist. No matter how much it hurts or how lifeless or hopeless it feels. There is always something to hold. Something to move forward for. Even if it’s just a tattered thread blowing in the bitter
cold winds of despair.

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I think of the nights we are kept awake by the sound of each other’s insomnia and the silent but screaming tears the night weeps onto our surface and into our core, and those moments we are able to laugh with one another as if we were never sick, as if we never knew the lifelessness and horror of depression and psychosis. Laughing uncontrollably without holding back, everything else is pushed aside for a moment, all the despair, the hallucinatory voices & figures that
stalk
the
nights, the suffocating loneliness, the paranoid delusions, the puddles of emotional sickness, we laugh relentlessly in raw joy and all is momentarily Ok.

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I recall the day a group of us got together and decided to trick the psychiatric technicians and pretend we were talking to people who weren’t really there. She knew we were faking and laughed with us playfully warning us “just wait til the doctors get here and see if you get to go home any time soon, you’ll never get out of here!” We quit real fast!

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And the day I was going to be discharged to go home which happened to be the day they were having an ice cream party but not until later, after a couple of us had to leave. I wanted ice cream and to sit around with the others and I seriously, very briefly considered telling them I was still suicidal. I wasn’t. But it was almost worth it to pretend. Just weeks before I would not even get out of bed for breakfast. My hunger got stronger each day.

I have always known a certain awareness that most others I know or encounter seem oblivious to.

There are moments I have felt lonely in my ability to see and appreciate the things it seems many or most overlook. It reminds me of a scene in Edith Wharton’s, Ethan Frome.

“He had always been more sensitive than the people about him to the appeal of natural beauty. His unfinished studies had given form to this sensibility and even in his unhappiest moments field and sky spoke to him with a deep and powerful persuasion. But hitherto the emotion had remained in him as a silent ache, veiling with sadness the beauty that evoked it. He did not even know whether any one else in the world felt as he did, or whether he was the sole victim of this mournful privilege. Then he learned that one other spirit had trembled with the same touch of wonder: that at his side, living under his roof and eating his bread, was a creature to whom he could say: ‘That’s Orion down yonder; the big fellow to the right is Aldebaran, and the bunch of little ones – like bees swarming – they’re the Pleiades…’ or whom he could hold entranced before a ledge of granite thrusting up through the fern while he unrolled the huge panorama of the ice age, and the long dim stretches of succeeding time. The fact that admiration for his learning mingled with Mattie’s wonder at what he taught was not the least part of his pleasure. And there were other sensations, less definable but more exquisite, which drew them together with a shock of silent joy: the cold red of sunset behind winter hills, the flight of cloud-flocks over slopes of golden stubble, or the intensely blue shadows of hemlocks on sunlit snow. When she said to him once: ‘It looks just as if it was painted!’ it seemed to Ethan that the art of definition could go no farther, and that words had at last been found to utter his secret soul….” (pp. 24)

I was shocked the moment I first read those beautiful lines. Pleasantly shocked. I feel myself in those words and in the small but profound spaces in the middle of each little lexeme.

It can be frustrating and also beautiful to feel as if those around me cannot or won’t share in my sense of wonder at the simple beauty all around us. The forgotten. The ignored. The abandoned.

The things I make it a point each day to reclaim.

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(I STILL do this when I get happy, thrilled, overwhelmed in joy!) 😀

It’s one reason I love poetry and photography and novels. They have the potential to capture beauty, ugliness, pain, and ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Shedding light on dark, abandoned places and spaces. Places and spaces I have always longed to color with the beauty of my Truth.

And it’s beautiful.

They have a way of replicating wonder and awe and fossilizing them. Bringing them to life. Bringing them to the surface of consciousness. Threading them throughout eternity like a beautiful tapestry of gold and red, fire and ice.

I have always had a poetic way of seeing things. My head spins the world into poetry and song.

It doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes it’s incomprehensible even to me. But it’s always wonderful.

So even in my desperation, my depression, my despair, and lifelessness, I often noticed and wanted these beautiful things but I closed my heart to them, shut it off as if encased in thick cement.

Sometimes I wanted to want things and couldn’t.

Other occasions I wanted things I did not want to want.

Still, other occasions I wanted nothing and did not want to want anything but to vanish into nothingness or die a horrible violent death to match the horrible violent feelings inside me. This was rare.

This went on for years and years, and more years, off and on with genuine happiness thrown into the mix here & there. Until I finally decided to get myself better. I asked for help. I work on myself relentlessly to be the best me I can be(not a perfectionist).

Now I feel beauty everywhere, every day. And I feel fear more. Fear for myself.

Have you ever been crossing a street or standing at a curb on a pavement and a car seems to be coming too close to you and a bolt of fear runs though you? Or have you ever been in a car and another car almost hits the one you’re in or actually hits it and you feel a bit shaken for a while after and you feel it’s a bad thing? I don’t think most people have true near death experiences but I think many/most of us have experienced at least one of those mundane occurrences like with cars coming a bit too close, maybe an encounter with a creepy stranger, walking up a dark street alone and hearing footsteps or seeing/hearing something that makes the hairs on your neck stand up. Or a person driving a car you’re in a little too fast and you fear for others but also yourself.

All these experiences may shake you up a bit but that is an amazing thing!

It shows that you are healthy. You’re meant to be afraid when you think you’re in danger.

Desire.

Have you ever walked through a store and saw expensive things you strongly desired but couldn’t have? Jewelry? Designer clothes? Beautiful furniture? Antiques? A lovely handbag? A gorgeous dress? Ever laid eyes on a beautiful house you couldn’t buy?
And then you felt low for not being able to buy them…for not having them…

Have you ever wanted to win a game so badly or a competition of some sort? Ever wanted to be accepted to a certain school and graduate? Or applied for a job you desperately wanted?

And it did not turn out how you wanted it to and you felt devastated…

This too is a great thing! It’s healthy to want, to need, to hunger….and to be disappointed when it doesn’t turn out.

Just like when a very physically ill person is too sick to eat or even want food then the person begins getting better and appetite and physical hunger returns and the person’s doctor or mom says how great it is. Because it’s healthy to want to eat.

Have you ever shielded yourself against beauty and things you want, feeling as if it’s wrong to want them or feeling as if you deserve none of it?

I encourage you to embrace the beauty around you and within you. Embrace your hunger, your fear, your desire. Whether or not you act on it.

It’s healthy to want.

Wanting is more important than getting.

Desiring, itself, is to be cherished, valued for all that it stands for. For all that it is.

It shows you are an active participant in life.

I had this epiphany, I guess you can say, in greater depth one day recently walking through Target. I saw so much jewelry, real and fake, I wanted but could not get. I felt disappointed. The way I wanted it was more than desire. It was hunger. The bracelets, the earrings, the necklaces, the bags that can make a girl go weak at the knees!…and then I remembered various occasions years ago walking through that very same store, seeing all that jewelry but not caring to have it even though I loved it, or wanting it but not with the same enthusiasm I would now, because of being depressed, or wanting it and becoming more depressed for not being able to have it. (There were definitely occasions back then when I was not depressed at all and wanted it all but depression was frequent back then.)

That’s when I realized more how great it is and feels to desire what I love. Even when I cannot have it. I don’t always desire material objects like that even when I’m not depressed; generally I’m so happy with just the things I already have. I can often walk through stores without wanting everything I lay eyes on. And that’s a good thing too. But it’s not good to have no interests because depression or guilt saps it all away. Some people have reached a certain level of spirituality where they want almost nothing and do not fear death even when it’s currently staring them in the face but not because of an illness, because they have trained their brains to not be concerned with material things or external factors. They are happy this way. They are not numb. They are alive. This is a good thing. Most of us, though, are not spiritual like this or to this extent. So when we have desire and fear, it’s good.

I think it’s hard for non depressed people and maybe even some depressed people to realize this. It’s ok to want and not get and then be temporarily devastated or angry or disappointed. It’s healthy to a certain point.

After years of pain, numbness, and lifelessness, off and on, I realize this. I was stuck and stagnant. I was half dead.
This was not always, I definitely experienced happy intervals along with depressed episodes and waves but it was too frequent.

When I used to think I was going to die, I was sometimes either happy or indifferent.

Seeing a speeding truck coming at me only provoked my concern for others, not myself.

When depression lifts completely or layers lift…

I realize how beautiful it feels to want to paint my nails, to want to put makeup on because it’s fun, to want to walk through a store and buy things even when I don’t have the money.

I wanted these things sometimes even when I was depressed but not to the same extent. They often felt like hassles or obligations. Or just tainted in gray. Dull gray. Or the color of vomit. A faded kind of green. A lifeless shade of green-gray.

Often, when depressed, I would see things I wanted to want or see things I knew I would want if I wasn’t lost in a vicious kind of darkness tearing me to pieces, choking me, swallowing me whole.

When not depressed, or even less depressed,
I want to paint my nails. I want to choose eye shadow of various pretty colors to complement the vibrancy of the blue of my eyes. I want to wear pretty clothes that look amazing on my beautiful physique.

I want things I can’t have and it hurts.

And it’s beautiful.

I still get depressed and am consumed by the dark pain or I get the other kind of depression, the kind that numbs me and I feel nothing, which sometimes feels worse than the unbearable pain. Before, it was not constant but it was frequent. My happiness was genuine when it would lift and my happiness would stay a while but that depression would always come back and sometimes quickly or it would come and go quickly off and on.

It is less frequent now. And I realize more and more the deep, primitive beauty of hunger & fear.

When I come out of a severe depression, when it starts to lift, I am hungry. Ravenous. Not hungry for food but hungry for life and everything in it. Hungry for the colors in the wind, the textures, the tastes, the sounds, the feelings and fragrances. Food tastes better than I can ever remember, an out of this world kind of deliciousness.. Music and songs are beautiful in an unfathomable way, my mind feels clear and hope is restored. This is how it has always been for me since I was 13 years old and a depressive episode would lift. It was never mania, just true happiness that really stands out after so much darkness and pain.

My judgment can be trusted.

I become ravenous, rapacious, like a starved, wild animal. My eyes, my mind devour anything they can.
It’s like I can’t get enough.
It reminds me of a blind person who was blind his/her whole life then all of a sudden can see and it’s overwhelming. Everything jumps out at once, the sensory input is too much to bear at once, dizziness, confusion, clashing, mind-blowing.
But it’s beautiful because the person can see.

I was blind but now I see.

It reminds me of the novel “The Secret Garden,” a beautiful story of growth, hope, and rebirth.

It reminds me of when I had emergency surgery on my kidney when I was a girl of twenty-one years. I couldn’t eat for days, I was in pain and had an IV drip for a couple days. When I got a little bit better, I was starved. I was hungry.
I craved food like never before.
And pizza fries and Coca Cola never tasted so good. I was so happy. At 21 years old, like at most other ages, I experienced deep depression off and on but also, deep, deep happiness.

I feel the entire universe inside me in all its perfections and flaws, all its beauty and pain. Its joy and misery, happiness, and despair. And I am born again.

When I look up at the sky or at a bumblebee or at thin blades of green grass or weeds, I see poetry and music and paintings. When I’m in a dark room and I look at a door, ajar with just a streak of light seeping in through the narrow crack, I see photography. When I look at strangers on a bus or walking up the street, when I see traffic speeding in the rain on a dreary gray day, I see novels flash across my mind. When I think of my pain, I feel a story. A story to be written and told again and again to reach out and touch someone else for the better.

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I’m not manic. I know what mania is. I don’t have it. It’s an illness and the people struck with it can’t think clearly even when they think they can and have clouded judgment. I can remain and think in a calm manner even when I think and feel this way. I know I am not invincible. My judgment is sound and I am not delusional in this case I mention here. And I know there are reasonable limits and rules I must adhere to and I do. Mine is not dangerous like mania can be. But what I describe here may resemble that illness. It’s not to be confused with it. Mine is an awakening, an awareness triggered by an illness of the mind, one that has ravaged my brain for years. It’s not an illness itself. I don’t always feel this ecstacy when I’m happy. Sometimes it’s more of a calm serenity, a quiet joy. But it’s just as fierce.

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If you want something you don’t have, it’s ok. It’s best not to let it take over your life and make you miss out on all the goodness you do have and it’s usually best I believe, not to feel our worth is dependent upon external factors but it’s ok to desire, to hunger. And it’s ok to be angry, disappointed, devastated for a while, that we can’t have it yet or ever. Even if it’s something trivial like jewelry or a fun vacation. Bask in the beauty of that hunger to be better, to have more, to get away…bask in that desire and the disappointment.

Sit with it.

Then remember all the greatness you possess and are and let that disappointment And desire dissolve.

And be happy now.

Did you ever think of disappointment as a good thing?

I’m here to open you up to another perspective.

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You don’t have to be someone with longterm depression like me to get an idea of what I write of. That’s one reason why we write, to help others understand and discover wisdom without ever experiencing what we have. And to let those with similar experiences know they are never alone.

The worst thing is not to want and not get. The worst thing is to be dead. And half dead. To not want at all because you are too lifeless to care. Or too lifeless to have the energy to even begin to desire or fear. And it’s ok to be half dead. If you are half dead then you are half alive. And you can awaken that other half.

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When you have a brush with death and your body turns to jelly, bask in the beauty of that fear. Embrace it. Keep tasting it. You’re alive. And you want to be alive.

Revel in the wonder of that trembling.

Trembling in awe. Trembling in fear.

Trembling.

Don’t shield yourself against the beauty you know. Try not to mask your desire and fear with feelings of guilt because we’re taught it’s wrong to want, to need, to fear, to get.

Let’s be happy, thrilled, overjoyed with the simplest of all the beauty around us. And nOt too

disappointed too long when we don’t get what we want. And let us keep reaching for the stars. I have always been naturally inclined to notice and love the simple beauty but I learned to strengthen my nature, make it more conscious, intentional.

Keep wanting more, keep desiring, keep trying, keep fearing.

Get your fill to eat. But always, always, keep that hunger.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nICs–86Vng

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RV-Z1YwaOiw&app=m&persist_app=1
😀

Read “The Secret Garden” for free here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/113/113-h/113-h.htm

Read “Ethan Frome” for free here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4517/4517-h/4517-h.htm

Xoxo Kim

For the Love of Antiquarian Books & Things Touched

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“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.” ~Author Unknown

I love old things. Very old things. Used. Worn things. Especially books. Old books are beautiful. Not just the content but the physical oldness (lol) of them. The fading covers, the crisp yellowing pages, the broken spines with loose pages….everything….

“A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend.” ~Author Unknown

I prefer old books over new books. In college I used to intentionally buy used books. And unlike most students the main reason wasn’t the reduced prices. It was because I loved that someone had it before me. I loved the highlights and little side notes in the margins. Sometimes I found them helpful but mostly I just loved seeing what people wrote and highlighted, knowing someone previously walked the journey before me. In high school I loved seeing the years and names listed on the back covers, especially when the years listed aren’t even of the same decade I had the book.

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” ~Paul Sweeney

I remember sitting in class laughing with other students as we looked at our textbooks at the list of names next to years long gone, and talked about how students used those very same books in years that we weren’t even yet thought of.

The more tattered, marked up, the better.

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“A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.” ~Franz Kafka

“Lord! when you sell a man a book you don’t sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night – there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.” ~Christopher Morley

Old books.

One of the things I love most about them is the fact that through the years and decades they have been touched. Touched by various people, various lives, various breaths, the pages flipped by the fingers of people I’ll never meet. Words, concepts, sentences, comprehended by brains I’ll never know, books held in the arms of people who lived through years long gone. A world gone away. I wonder at the fact that the very books I hold in my hands were once part of someone else’s life. Someone who lived over ninety years ago.

I imagine my touch embracing the touch of people who felt the pages I feel now. My fingerprints lacing with old fingerprints that may still be on the surfaces, forever etched upon the yellowing pages before me.

I imagine the wonder that may have surged through curious brains long ago while devouring the words, tears that may have caressed the pages at night, thoughts that pondered the content, emotions that swirled like magic, giggles that echoed through the air, sadness, happiness, joy, and fascination that breathed while people read, felt, and cherished the books that are still around today.

I always loved the idea of old things. Old, beautiful things, used things that previously blessed the lives of various people, before making it into someone else’s hands.

“The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television.” ~Andrew Ross

And I don’t just love literal old things but even modern or new things made to look or seem old, things with an old feel to them. A nostalgic, reminiscent tinge. I love modern books which take place way long ago. Just lovely.

“Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.” ~Jessamyn West

I recently realized I have a few very old books. There’s this used bookstore in Center City, Philadelphia called “Book Traders” and I love it! Especially the personal development, philosophy, and Psychology sections.

Sometimes I just grab a whole armfull of books that seem appealing to me. I found that I have a few very old ones, a couple 1940 ones and one 1913, and one 1920 one. And probably more laying around somewhere. I have so many books and online books on the Kindle, links, and pdfs that I don’t get around to reading them all yet and some I forget about until coming across them later.

I bought none of these books because of the age but because I find the subjects genuinely interesting but I’m sure if I saw a super old, inexpensive book somewhere with a topic I care nothing about, I would purchase it “just because.” lol

I found one last night in my dresser I never knew I have til now! I found myself giggling because it’s an American History book that was published in 1912 and updated in 1913. It’s faded, yellowed, crisp, and falling apart somewhat but still in great condition for a book of that age. Most of the pages are not falling out. It’s funny because so so so much has happened involving the U.S. Since then and it’s interesting to see it so incomplete. It’s funny to think how important that book was back then but how useless in an educational context, it is now. It’s so underdeveloped. It’s difficult to explain in words. It just seems so simple next to now. Our President Taft was president back then. And our President Wilson.

I know in 100 years though, when someone picks up one of our history books now, it will be so incomplete. So useless, educationally. And there will be new history books packed with so much more than we can imagine right now. Maybe in years to come, in the way distant future, someone somewhere will hold one of my books in her hands and giggle, her fingerprints joining mine on crisp, yellowing pages.

Anyway I been thinking about it a lot today and it reminded me of another book I read. A book I planned to write about here but never have yet. A breathtakingly beautiful but devastatingly heartbreaking novel. Published in the 70’s, It takes place in Ohio during the years just after the “Great Depression.” It’s called “The Bluest Eye” and is written by author, Toni Morrison. It’s about a little girl, Pecola, and how she struggles with self-esteem/self-worth issues because of the way society treats African American people. She’s an African American girl, around eleven years old, who desperately desires blue eyes. African American girls were often made to feel less beautiful than white girls and it was ingrained into them that blue eyes and light skin are worth more than dark eyes and dark skin. I know some of that sentiment still lingers today and it’s very real and detrimental to those who are affected by it.

Then this little girl suffers a serious tragedy.

It’s heartbreaking that throughout her whole life she suffered unjust racial discrimination and also her peers, even ones of her own ethnicity, excluded her. In the book, she’s considered to be less than beautiful, not just because of her skin/eye color but all of her features. And her family isn’t very well liked by the community people.

All she wants is love and acceptance and a feeling of being worthy. And no one gives her this or helps her see her true beauty. She is convinced that a pair of blue eyes will give her meaning and beauty.

And she’s convinced that it’s possible for her brown eyes to turn blue.

Her family struggles financially and also with domestic violence.

There’s a scene in a candy store where this sweet little girl wants candy and she’s afraid to ask. She knows the man won’t care for her. He’s rude and abrupt and impatient and treats her as if she’s nothing. It’s heartwrenching.

It’s amazing how the absolutely brilliant author, Toni Morrison, portrays the characters, so real and has the ability to convey the depth of the emotions and feelings experienced by them.

Throughout the book, I felt that I was able to identify so strongly with the characters in some ways. I wasn’t alive in the 1940’s, I’m not a child, have never experienced discrimination based on my race, and although I have experienced financial difficulties, occasionally, it’s not to the degree that this little girl’s family experiences it in the book. They are practically living on the streets sometimes. I can’t possibly know what most of those things are like. But the author is able to reach through all that and poignantly convey the very basic humanness of the little girl, Pecola, and the other characters. She conveys the longings and the needs, the heartache and suffering. The kind that is felt to some degree, at some point, by most living humans.

So many things struck me while reading. Like how sometimes our comfort zones are more comforting to us than the unusual even when our comfort zones are painful, chaotic, destructive, horrifying, and miserable. Even when the unusual is more sane and calm than our traumatic but familiar routines. Sometimes we can’t handle being out of our comfort zones or usual routines and become restless for what we have always known. Sometimes when all is quiet and calm and serene, we may find ourselves not only yearning to go back to what we know but actually intentionally bringing on trauma and drama and horror just because it’s what we’re used to, and actually finding some kind of twisted comfort in it even though we don’t want it and it’s not good for us. The chaos, the pain, the trauma and drama somehow fills a sense of emptiness in us that the lack of it all creates.

There’s so much in this novel I believe most of us can identify with in some ways no matter what decade we grew up in, no matter our skin color or culture, class status, financial situations, age, or any situations….

It’s beautifully and poetically written. It inspires me. The lady who wrote it is mind-blowingly understanding, empathetic, and amazing at writing it. When I say empathetic and understanding I’m not merely talking about compassion and caring. That too but I’m referring to an even deeper ability to get into the heads of certain kinds of people, create characters in ways that are so very realistic.

She gets in the heads of perverts, sexual predators, bullies, prostitutes…and portrays the human side. She writes of the awkward, painful, uncomfortable aspects of life and brings to life the characters who are responsible for the devastation and the people they impact.

She depicts their monstrous sides but also their human sides. She tugs at our heartstrings, seemingly tempting us to feel for these characters, to see their humanness, their basic, essential, marred innocence, daring us to identify with them in some ways. But never justifying their atrocities.

Her writing is beautiful. In an astounding way.

There’s a character in the novel who is a pervert. He’s mentioned earlier in the book but readers don’t know yet at that point that he’s really a pervert so I won’t mention this character’s name to avoid spoilers. I’m going to quote some things about him out of this book after readers find that he’s one. So in case you haven’t read the book and are reading this, planning to read it, I will not write his name.

The quotes here won’t give too much away but if you don’t want to know then I would recommend you stop reading here. I’m not giving the ending away or any big shockers or anything.

I find the description of the pervert to be very beautiful even though it’s dark and awkward and uncomfortable, and to some people, quite disturbing.

Lines taken out of “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison:

“Once there was an old man who loved things, for the slightest contact with people produced in him a faint but persistent nausea. He could not remember when this distaste began, nor could he remember ever being free of it. As a young boy he had been greatly disturbed by this revulsion which others did not seem to share, but having got a fine education, he learned among other things, the word ‘misanthrope.’ Knowing his label provided him with both comfort and courage, he believed that to name an evil was to neutralize if not annihilate it. Then, too, he had read several books and made the acquaintance of several great misanthropes of the ages, whose spiritual company soothed him and provided him with yardsticks for measuring his whims, his yearnings, and his antipathies. Moreover, he found misanthropy an excellent means of developing character: when he subdued his revulsion and occasionally touched, helped, counseled, or befriended somebody, he was able to think of his behavior as generous and his intentions as noble. When he was enraged by some human effort or flaw, he was able to regard himself as discriminating, fastidious, and full of nice scruples.”

&

“All his life he had a fondness for things – not the acquisition of wealth or beautiful objects, but a genuine love of worn objects: a coffee pot that had been his mother’s, a welcome mat from the door of a rooming house he once lived in, a quilt from a Salvation Army store counter. It was as though his disdain of human contact had converted itself into a craving for things humans had touched. The residue of the human spirit smeared on inanimate objects was all he could withstand of humanity. To contemplate, for example, evidence of human footsteps on the mat – absorb the smell of the quilt and wallow in the sweet certainty that many bodies had sweated, slept, dreamed, made love, been ill, and even died under it. Wherever he went, he took along his things, and was always searching for others. This thirst for worn things led to casual but habitual examinations of trash barrels in alleys and wastebaskets in public places….
All in all, his personality was arabesque: intricate, symmetrical, balanced, and tightly constructed – except for one flaw. The careful design was marred occasionally by rare but keen sexual cravings.”

&

“He abhorred flesh on flesh. Body odor, breath odor, overwhelmed him. The sight of dried matter in the corner of the eye, decayed or missing teeth, earwax, blackheads, moles, blisters, skin crusts – all the natural excretions and protections the body was capable of – disquieted him.”

I just love these descriptions. The beauty, the concepts, the words, the substance. And you don’t have to be a creepy pervert or a misanthrope to appreciate the simple human aspects of life, the residual human touches, footprints on a doormat, an old coffeepot that someone else’s coffee was made in long ago, scents that linger on objects, a blanket that comforted someone through the night, a typewriter that someone else’s fingers created a masterpiece with….even the dark parts and the bodily descriptions are beautiful. They are part of life.

I know many people are totally, utterly grossed out by the thought of many people touching one thing and touching what countless strangers have touched. It probably makes some people’s heart skip and not in a good way. But I just find it beautiful.

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I wish I could tell little Pecola that she’s beautiful. She IS beautiful. Her brown eyes, her dark skin, her innocent ways…everything. She’s beautiful just as she is. She doesn’t need blue eyes or fair skin. She’s perfect the way she is. I wish I could embrace her and tell her she’s beautiful in and out. All little girls and women should be encouraged to feel beautiful and worthy and encourage other girls to feel beautiful and important as well.
I wish I could have been in that candy store to help her pick out her candy and inspire her to be a happy, innocent little girl filled with joy just looking at the candy. Just like little girls should feel.
I found myself shattered by this novel. Beautifully shattered.
Characters in fiction aren’t real in our world but they do exist in the worlds of books, stories, writings, movies, in the brains and imaginations of all the gifted authors/writers.
And they are real in some strange sense.

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I strongly recommend it to anyone who loves novels, drama, profound messages and depth and beauty in writing.

“A good book has no ending.” ~R.D. Cumming

There’s another book I read and wrote about here called “314” Book II in a trilogy and in the book one girl is able to put her hands on any object and see everything that previously happened involving that object, even years ago. She can touch a pen and see who else touched it and she can touch walls and see all that happened within the confines of those walls. It’s overwhelming so she keeps her hands in her pockets a lot. I don’t believe in psychic stuff like that but I love the concept. It reminds me of life all around and how some parts of us still remain on the objects we touch and live on long after we do.

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“Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” ~P.J. O’Rourke

(LOL!)

It reminds me of all the mundane things we take for granted, all the simple things that make up our lives every single day. The things. Things that contain our breaths, fingerprints, scents, particles, sweat, tears, imprints…..

“My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter.” ~Thomas Helm

“I adore the feeling of being completely taken in by a book. When the tears of joy or sadness wet your cheeks. When you snort with laughter in a crowd and when you shout at the pages in anger.” ~ Unknown

Xoxo Kim

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“Carry Me Like Water” – a novel

ImageI love to read but I usually don’t read novels. I have read random ones throughout the years that I love that somehow randomly made it into my hands but since I don’t have a favorite topic or favorite author I usually don’t know where to start to find novels I may like to read.

But recently I found one that captured my heart completely.

I go to used bookstores/thrift stores mostly for books and some of them have plastic bins full of free books. One day recently I bought a shitload of self-help books and was walking out the door and noticed a book in the free bin called “Carry Me Like Water”. I never heard of it before then and did not think for a second that I would actually read or like it before I read the description. But the name, that lovely name, “Carry Me Like Water” drew me in, touched me in an indescribable place, inspired me, and so I snatched it up just for the hell of it!

And whooooaaa am I glad I did!!

I read the back of the book and just knew I had to give it a try. But when I got home, I threw the book aside and promised myself I would read it later. A few weeks have come and gone and I finally picked up the book again and began reading. Since the very first page I was hooked!

Hopelessly, desperately hooked.

There are some books I have read and love but certain parts of it or pages kind of bored me somewhat but this book? Not one word bored me. Not one! What a page turner!

I read it day and night and was through with it in just a couple short days. If it wasn’t for having to sleep and a couple of other essential things I would have read it in one day or less! It has 502 pages.

When I read novels I come to get so attached. I come to love the characters almost as if I know them! And I mourn them when my reading is complete. While I can never wait to get to the end to see what happens, a part of me dreads it because while I can read the book again and again it just won’t be the same as the first read!

This book truly has my heart. I love it. It’s beautiful, captivating, heartwarming, heartbreaking, inspiring, painful, breathtaking, agonizing.

Brilliantly, brilliantly, breathtaking.

It explores some deep sorrows that our world endures such as unjust discrimination against people of certain races, incestuous sexual abuse, homophobia, classicism, HIV/AIDS.

It is a beautiful story of hope, healing, forgiveness, moving on, trust, honesty, friendship, love, and family, romantic as well as platonic/friendship love, self acceptance and the acceptance of others, even those who are different than the character or who have made seemingly unforgivable mistakes.

It takes place in the 80’s/90’s in San Francisco & El Paso and involves a group of people including Caucasian and Latino people and Homosexual & Heterosexual people who are all connected somehow but do not know or realize it. Their lives have crossed or touched somehow at some point. Some do not know it and some want to forget. Their lives are all broken and they all struggle with some sort of emotional pain and very difficult problems that are extremely hard to face and admit.

It explores borders, both geographical as well as emotional borders.

I would fall asleep at night reading it and wake up and begin again!

It shows how people can heal even after horrific tragedies like abuse and loss and abandonment and social injustices and how family is not always biological or blood.

This is thoroughly entertaining and gut-wrenching. I felt every emotion conveyed by the author and experienced by the amazing, incredible characters. I felt like I was involved with the lives and hearts of those people. I haven’t felt that way over a novel since I read my other favorite book, the semi-fictional, “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey about his beautiful, agonizing struggle to overcome substance addiction. 

It is a lovely story! ❤

 

“Carry Me Like Water”

Published in 1995

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz 

 

My favorite kind of books/novels, other than self-help, I realize, are ones of hope & healing, perseverance, and overcoming problems that once seemed impossible to overcome. I have a hunger for more of those books. I just have to see what subject they fall under. There are murder mysteries, science fiction, romantic comedy….I guess I have some exploring to do!

 

😀 ❤

 

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” 

― Francis Bacon, The Essays

 

 

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” 

― Winston Churchill

 

 

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” 

― Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

“I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.” 

― Abraham Lincoln

 

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” 

― Nelson Mandela

 

“When you get to the end of your rope. Tie a knot and hang on.” 

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

“That’s one of the remarkable things about life. It’s never so bad that it can’t get worse.” 

― Bill Watterson

 

When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” 

― Elvis Presley

 

“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” 

― H.G. Wells

 

 

“It’s not how we fall. It’s how we get back up again.” 

― Patrick Ness, Monsters of Men

 

Let pain make you BETTER not Bitter!! ❤