Thursday, October 24, 2013

be here now

You bit into the perfect flesh of the peach. It was warm from the sun burning down on the roadside stand. Juice misted from the meat as you sank your teeth in. The aroma of peach - not peach scented or peach flavoured but raw ripe perfection - filled your nostrils. Licking the sweet sticky juice from your fingers you sighed 'there is nothing in the world as perfect as an in-season peach.'

But the season is fleeting. A few weeks at best and you make do with that poor substitute, canned peaches. If you are lucky they were canned at home - anyone's home. In a desperate pinch, you can make factory canned peaches work, though you'll probably choose instead to go without. 

How would you ever know, sitting outside that road stand and lamenting your lack of napkins or wet wipes, if that peach would be your last fresh one? Would knowing make you savour it with that much more attention, or would it add the hint of a bitter edge? 

How often in a life do you experience a last time and not know? That favourite chocolate bar from your youth. That summer trip as a family. That soft kiss on the cheek from your grandma. That perfect night in the arms of a lover free from pretense or concern. Would knowing ruin the moment? Would you work to make it memorable and in so doing ruin it? Would your concern about the coming emptiness take away the fullness of now? 

I suppose that's one point of the oft-repeated refrain to be present, to stay in the moment and experience the power of now. Then again, maybe knowing would also free you from being haunted by that everlasting question - was that it?

Monday, October 14, 2013

something fierce: memoirs of a revolutionary daughter, a book club review

I don't read a lot of memoirs. For me, novels have a truth and a reality that someone telling their own story cannot equal. I read on Twitter this week "you are a continuously unfolding story told by an unreliable narrator: act accordingly," and it rang very true for me especially in thinking about writing this review.

Carmen Aguirre's memoir covers her life from the ages of eight to eighteen years - an age span that is particularly unreliable. As she travels between Vancouver, Chile, Argentina and holidays in Brazil, Carmen is indoctrinated into her parents' revolutionary beliefs. Or is she? Her frequent admissions of bourgeois desires reinforce the impression that she is not to be believed without question, and her motives for action throughout the book are unclear at best. 

In the end, Aguirre's story failed for me: it failed to engage, it failed to inspire, and it failed to inform. I did not trust her motives either in action in the story or in its telling. Her presentation of 'facts' turned me off the things that mattered to her, even those that I would naturally otherwise support. And, at the end of the book I was no more clear about the reality of South America in the revolutionary 1980's than I had been before I read the book. 

Aguirre's style is mildly entertaining, which made the book somewhat less of a slog. After the bounty of great books we've read so far in book club, this one gets filed under 'Meh." 
Amazon Associate link

About the club, not the book:

Unfortunately, book club was cancelled this month. I think we'll have to work to make sure that the show goes on no matter what, but sometimes things happen - I had a migraine, another member was recovering from dental surgery, a third had a cold. You get the point. We didn't get our dinner, and more importantly we didn't get our evening of awesome conversation.

That's okay though - we'll have that much more to share when we get together in November. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

it's all good

I've been at a conference the last couple days, and in the midst of of the usual 'getting to know you' and small talk yesterday I heard myself say "I got married at 20 and divorced at 30, but my sons and I have done okay." I was surprised to hear it. And even more surprised when I stopped, contemplated and realised it's true.

1999: Our first summer holiday as a family of three.  
It hasn't always been straight forward. We've each wobbled and struggled and grown. It hasn't been a straight trajectory, but we've all gotten better. I, for one, no longer wear socks with sandals.

That's all. No deep thoughts. Just a revelation that made me smile. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...