Thursday, December 31, 2009

This Year

This year I have, in a matter of days, relived every paramount trial I have ever experienced in my entire life.

Two months after the hell of kindergarten mercifully ended naturally in June, I read The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf. I read some of the book on the airplane to and from visiting my family for the weekend. When I got home I hugged Heath, hugged my babies, then spent the next few hours finishing the book. The book was very well written, especially considering it was her first novel.

While reading this incredibly written story, I relived my childhood. And I forgave my father all over again.

I did not enjoy the memories that resurfaced while reading the story. I never realized how much I had suppressed over the years.

I have now lost another two and a half days of my life being immersed in Lost Boys by Orson Scott Card. In that time I have relived every trial Heath and I have gone through. Nine and a half years worth of painful misery stuffed into two and a half days of reading. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had great times too. Just imagine every rotten trial you have ever experienced in the last 9 years intensified by 100 and written so well in a book you relived every emotional response in two days’ time. That’s where I am right now!

The good news is while all those horrible things I have read about actually happen to people, they don’t typically all happen at the same time to one family. For that I am blessed. Time has been kind.

There is an afterward to Lost Boys. It’s only on the audio version. Heath told me that the story was originally a ghost story told to college students. Then he wrote it as a short story for a writing workshop. It had such a response that Card agreed to write a novel. It was the antithesis of Stephen King’s Pet Cemetery. Card had read that book and didn’t like the premise that only evil things come back. Part of the story was from Card’s own experiences. The bug infestation was something he experienced living in North Carolina. The Fletcher family was loosely based on Card’s own family, their personalities and experiences. The story ended up being too real even for Card and he swore he would never write an autobiographical story again.

Do I regret reading these books? Not one bit. Will I read them again? No. Maybe Lost Boys but not for years. Would I recommend them to anyone else to read? Yes. They are amazingly told stories. I will warn you though, if you are at all sensitive like I am or if you have firsthand experience with any of the social problems described in these books, you will come out of each book feeling like you have been ripped through a knothole backwards, turned inside out, wrung out, and left back in your own reality to deal with yourself.

This year has been quite a year. I hope next year will be every bit as fulfilling and fantastic. Maybe without all the self discovery though.

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