I've just finished typing up my highlighted passages from Pat Conroy's book My Reading Life. I have not doubt that I will return to read again and again some of these words, to be inspired, comforted, and encouraged by them.
I don't want to share too much of the book. But I want to share a few lines with you now before I leave Conroy and move on to completing a project of my own that is calling. I truly just hope that those of you who love books and/or writing will be encouraged from my post to read the book.
First: a week or so ago, I trolled Facebook in the wee hours and came across a photograph of a beautiful lacquered vase that had lines of gold criss-crossing the body of the vessel. I read that the vase was an example of the "Japanese practice of repairing ceramics with gold-laced lacquer to illuminate the breakage.” I found the piece breathtaking.
Later when I returned to Conroy's book, I came across this passage: "kintsugi is the Japanese practice of repairing ceramics with gold-laced lacquer to illuminate the breakage.” ..not attempt to hide the breakage... though I have always known that pain was a ham-fisted player in my novels, I didn’t understand that I had used the radiant lacquers of the language to mark the wounds and fissures I had forced upon my characters. …I never knew I practiced the subtle art of kintsugi until Thomas Meyer let me in on the secret. "
And yes. Isn't that just what many of us writers dream of doing--illuminate the breakage? Turn the pain into something beautiful and breathtaking?
Second: As I completed the notes from the book, I came upon this...stayed with it, even shed a tear over it.
" I’ve always wanted to write a letter to the boy I once was, lost and dismayed in the plainsong of a childhood he found all but unbearable. But I soon discovered that I’ve been writing voluptuous hymns to that boy my whole life, because somewhere along the line—in the midst of breakdowns, disorder, and a malignant attraction to mayhem that’s a home place for the beaten child—I fell in love with that kid. I saw the many disguises that boy used to ward off solitude, hallucination, madness itself. I believe that the reading of great books saved his life. "
That's all for now. Sandy