I am a reader of Louise Erdrich, usually during difficult times, not for solace surely but for life at low tide. Hers is no fictional escape but story, hard and raw, word by word.
“You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You’re here to be swallowed up.” (The Painted Drum, Louise Erdrich).
In story, I discover character from afar. I grow into perspective and get distance from my emotions, a parallel universe of sorts, until one sentence, maybe a paragraph, plunks me down into this universe, this reality.
All that from a plot that is not my life. It’s been happening for years. And not just with Erdrich. Fiction reminds me to listen, especially when the conversation goes sideways. I don’t read to be comfortable.
I want to meet others where they are. Be in life as it is, ride the wave of the day for all its energy. A wave may not seem particularly long but it’s how life rolls, and I can only ride one at a time.
Gives new meaning to lifespan.
Life holds onto itself until it is no longer, like the wave that breaks on the shore, a plot twist resolved yet in its resolution giving rise to a new wave, sometimes fiction and sometimes not.