Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Books that make you go, 'Hmmm.....'

Current Mood : Pensive.

Current Image Notes : This Monster High character is unusually appealing - one day, I'll have to make my own HooDude.

It takes an exceptional book to make you take a look around and finally understand some things in your life that've been puzzling you, no matter how trite those things possibly are. While it may be just a fairy-tale upgrade, Mercedes Lackey's The Snow Queen struck some amazing resonation with me, and as I closed the book on its satisfying ending, I took up some threads that lay scattered across my mind and finally, I could follow their paths, and get them wound up and out of the way.

Most books and stories have a theme, and a fairy tale is mostly an oral legend with a moral. The lesson I took from Snow Queen was that a person's greatest weakness is often his or her great strength. Not everyone gets to show those things, unless Life demands it of him or her, but it's still worth some thought.

My childhood was...well, let's say 'repressive' for today. I learned early on that making myself quiet and unnoticed was the best way to avoid a lot of grief if things weren't going well. And sometimes even when things were going well. I often played Barbies in complete silence under the bed, with one foot sticking out, so they wouldn't think I vanished. Never saw anyone check, though. Add to that, I'm an only child, one of the youngest kids in the whole extended family, we lived waaaaaaaay out in the sticks, and my parents never wanted anyone in the house or wanted me to visit neighbors and friends without them nearby, and you got yerself some lonely summers and very quiet rooms. I didn't see it as repressing then, I just thought it was The Way Things Were, and that Angie and Lisa probably did the same things when I wasn't around.

I spent most of my younger days alone, and would often go weeks in the summer seeing no one but my parents, and even then, just for an hour or two a day. Far into my teens, I still played the avoidance game. But these events have stood me in good stead, although I'd never put Dearest Son through the same. I have no trouble being alone with myself for extended periods of time, I can keep my thoughts to myself, especially when they're damaging to someone else, and my 'inner life' is always nearby when I need it. I don't think it's the best way to gain emotional maturity, and I'm still very easy to tip into 'uber-emote', where I cry copiously over something I've imagined or laugh for no apparent reason, but, well, we are what we are. And...that's actually good enough.

Everything I am, I have chosen to be. I often choose to be a couple dozen different things in an hour. I don't always do my very best, but heck, that's exhausting ! When I try, and really mean to make something happen, it usually does - because I've placed a value on it in my own heart-mind. I'm not any better than anyone else, but I'm not the horrible creature I always feared I was, either. I really should have stopped snarling at small kids two years ago, though...

And only loosely related, I understand The Virgin Suicides now. I watched that movie three times and just didn't 'get it'. I was trying hard to not see, and doing quite well at it, until today. To me, suicide is like a permanent version of alcohol - neither makes much sense, so I avoid them and find other means of distraction. I mean, sure, you can booze it up and forget your problems, but they're still gonna be there when you sober up, and now you're head hurts, you're broke, and you're not entirely sure what happened that night. Not good. I don't like giving up control of me.

But when there's simply too many demands of perfection, too many restrictions to allow you to be who you are, there has to be an escape route somewhere. Any teenager flirts with suicide, it has an oddly romantic pull that I know too well. But I kept telling myself that things would get better, so they did. And I simply couldn't lose such total and complete control of m'self, when you get to the marrow of it.  But not everyone can delude themselves as completely as I do. For some, they only see the escape they so desperately need, and they take it. I still think it's a too-permanent solution to a usually temporary problem, but I can understand why it often feels like the only way out. 

I wonder if authors ever realize what thoughts their works can engender...

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