I had thought I saved a big long bit that was going to begin this blog entry. Alas, no. It’s okay, though…a chance to trim up the edges and tighten up that which was lax in thought or expression.
I have been reading two different yet connected books this last week or so. One is Daemon Voices a collection of essays by Philip Pullman on stories and storytelling. The other is a fiction book, Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield. It too pulls heavily on storytelling and adds the elements of midwinter, mystery/miracle/magic, and the snugness of a pub.
That it is midwinter as I write this entry is clear…I also happen to be at a province vacation house, with a fire going and whitecaps on the water. As well, it is about to be the new year, a change of decade (I know, there is a debate. I am a woman of letters, not numbers, so for simplicity’s sake…). And, I have been thinking about the story of this coming year…what its pages might hold…what I’d like them to hold…by mystery, miracle, or magic…
It is a lovely thing when so many pieces coincide.
Quoting Samuel Johnson, Philip Pullman wrote, “the true aim of writing ‘is to enable the reader better to enjoy life , or better to endure it.’ ” And, he ended this essay, Magic Carpets, with a reference to Shakespeare—“Art, whatever kind of art it is, is like the mysterious music described in the words of the greatest writer of all, ‘the sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.’. To bear the responsibility of giving delight and hurting not is one of the greatest privileges a human being can have, and I ask nothing more than the chance to go on being responsible for it till the end of my days.”
The last several chapters of Once Upon a River have all ended with the same realization dawning over the unique topography of different characters in this tale of a mute girl thought dead—drown in the river— and yet, alive once again. Something is going to happen.
While not one usually given to resolutions, I feel like the universe—and her players who find their place on this stage around me—is calling me to something more this coming year. I don’t know what it will look like or whether it will even come to be— but here it is— my penny tossed into the river, the fountain, of time, effort, and circumstance…my prayer of hope and desire…
I’d like to get something more formally published.
Happy New Year, each one… May our stories provide light and hope for those gathered around us, for each other, in 2020.