So there is a conversation, and it is between two voices inside my head (don't worry, they're not audible exactly, just…oh, whatever). They're discussing an idea another part of my head came up with about writing a post about the amazing—adult—book I just finished. These two voices? They're not in agreement.
Voice 1: Sure, do it, why not? It's not like anyone's paying you anything to write this stuff anyway.
Voice 2: But your blog is about children's literature. That's the whole point. And you've suckered all these people into coming to visit so they can hear about…children's literature.
Voice 1: But that sounds suspiciously like branding, and who gives a crap about that? Also, isn't it your blog? Don't you get to write whatever the heck you want?
Voice 2: Yeah sure, but if I start with this, where will it end? I'll end up writing about toenail fungus and recipes and anything in the world. I'll have lost my focus. I'll be asea in a swirl of chaos. I won't have any idea what I'm writing about or why and then where will it end? WHERE WILL IT END?
Voice 1: Calm down.
So of course I'm going to go ahead and post it, because I want to, and I am unable to squelch my impulses forever (it's been two weeks). But I will try to be brief. To the point. Cogent. Though in getting this far I've failed to do ALL THREE.
I just read this amazing book.
It's a collection of short stories, and it was incredibly pleasurable to read in this slow, stupefied, moved sort of way. I kept putting it down and spacing out because it was so rich, so rife with, I don't know, everything. Like how you love egg nog but you can't exactly swallow it down in one fell swoop.
All the stories touch, in some way, on memory, but the real joy of them is how human they are, in the best possible sense. How wide-ranging and thoughtful and almost painful in the waves of emotion they produce. The whole time I was reading this I was walking around, dreamy and tearful at once.
I know a lot of people, especially parents, don't find the time to read adult books what with all the crap and emotional and time drain in their lives. But they feed you, they really do, just the way they feed your children. It's such a blessed relief to engage in the conversation of adults sometimes, and to participate in the culture of adults, in the complicated gray areas, the reality of age, the complexity of thorny moral questions. It matters, somehow, to see all the crap that comes with being an adult illumined by a really good writer's consideration. It feels like coming out of your office cubicle and finding that people outside are engaged in a spirited and thoughtful discussion about something that is a million miles away from work—it is amazing. It is as thougb the world is saying to you: "Look. There is a larger world. It is full of beauty and pain and wisdom. Go explore it."