Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Long House


This book I just read?

Well, it wasn't a very good book, characters wandered in and out without much rhyme or reason. It was written by a Quebec author, an international best-seller and award winner, highly recommended, but written like she was poorly translated into the Anglaise.  But I persisted.

When I told one of my Quebecois writer friends I was reading this author she had dramatically raised one eyebrow (she does that so well, I wish I did) and said really? as in why waste my time.

I learn something from every single book. Even from this particular one,  though I will not read her again.  But now my curiousity is satisfied and I can say to myself, yeah, I read her, not impressed.

But, and it is a big but, there was one wonderful passage in it that I could strongly relate to:

P261: Living our lives was like living in a long house. We entered as babies at one end, and we exited when our time came. And in between we moved through this one great long room. Everyone we ever met and every thought and action lived in that room with us. Until we made peace with the less agreeable parts of our past, they'd continue to heckle us from way down the long house. And sometimes the really loud obnoxious ones told us what to do, directing our actions, even years later.
 
Somehow, my life became more manageable when I thought of it as a long house. Yes, sure there are hecklers but also there are some glorious wonderful times that I can glance back at now and again. And grin and do a little skip.

I don't have to stay in bleak December. Now I can run back and be in August 2012 if even for a few moments.



16 comments:

  1. I think that is a very fine way to view our lives as expressed on that page.

    By all means stay in August and take it with you into December.

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  2. For much of my life I was a rolling stone. I am thinking about the long house metaphor as a new way to put together all the various places and phases of my life. Thanks for the idea.

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  3. What a great passage.
    Yes, I have many of those that visit
    my mind from time to time.
    Do not like it but have learned how to handle it better. Just delete them immediately and do not listen to their voices.
    Never thought of viewing my life like this. I like this...
    Always learning from you :)

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  4. Wonderful metaphor, that, WWW!

    Your last para immediately triggered a quote to jump into in my mind - the famous one:

    In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
    Albert Camus

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  5. Anne:

    Yes, it is so easy to visualize and for a peripatetic person such as your good self maybe a great way of making sense of it all!!

    XO
    WWW

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  6. OWJ:

    Yes I feel I too can turn around and tell certain people to shut up (but nicely!) particularly the ones who never take risks themselves!

    XO
    WWW

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  7. T:

    I just love this quote and I had forgotten it until you mentioned. Thanks for the reminder I do have an invincible summer within!

    XO
    WWW

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  8. I hope my life isn't like one long house. I might keep bumping into my frustrated childhood self as I walked around, and that's a time of my life I'd rather forget!

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  9. Indeed. With all the bad, I still try to spend my remembering time focused on the richly full life I've had so far. It's there, and it can't be taken from me.

    But I have finally given myself permission to give up on a book if I'm not enjoying it. Too much to read to spend that kind of time.

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  10. I have learned to deal with the devils and ghosts of the past, which allows me to move on and close some doors behind me. The room of my life now feels cosy.

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  11. Nick:
    the secret is to remember to keep walking in that straight line and ignore the heckling from behind you!
    XO
    WWW

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  12. SAW:
    Normally I give up the book but as she had been so highly recommended I persisted just to prove to myself there was nothing there to hook me on to a second. And I am so glad I found the longhouse quote!
    And yes, the hecklers are fading as I move ahead.
    XO
    WWW

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  13. GM:
    for the most part, me too. But an estranged child is a constant pain in my heart.
    XO
    WWW

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  14. An inspiring metaphor indeed. As we grow older, we have all those stored memories that we can revisit and can ignore the call of the future.

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  15. Ramana:

    Yes the elder years have their compensations!!

    XO
    WWW

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