This post is dedicated to http://leeswammes.wordpress.com/ who is the most comprehensive and entertaining blogging-book-reviewer, and a recent blog-acquaintance.
It is about a book I found in a fit of unbearable boredom. It is the book I have read more times than any other – more times, even, than Pride and Prejudice.
Once was a time, I ran a shop-of-roses in a small seaside town. Trade was seasonal and feast-or-famine. In summer the tourists came in droves, in winter the historic streets were empty, save for the naval fleet coming in and out of port.
Cape Town winters echo those of Europe, as do many habits of our Mother City. Daylight comes late, nightfall comes early, and Mister Churchill’s black dog visits with painful regularity.
I kept busy in these gloomy months; I sewed for my little shop. I sewed dolls, doilies, tablecloths and scarves. And for each I sewed roses. When the sewing and the cold made my fingers incapable, I read.
On one particularly stormy day there was so little traffic in the town that I left the shop and crossed the road to where a disabled man ran a used-book stand in an alley.
A pristine book sat atop a pile. “It looks brand new!” I said.
“Not a happy one” he said. “Nobody wants to read that on a holiday.”
The book was Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels. I can open it at any page and find the perfect paragraph, a tiny sip of inspiration.
The perfect springboard to get me going off at a tangent …
“The spirit in the body is like wine in a glass; when it spills, it seeps into air and earth and light….It’s a mistake to think it’s the small things we control and not the large, it’s the other way around! We can’t stop the small accident, the tiny detail that conspires into fate: the extra moment you run back for something forgotten, a moment that saves you from an accident – or causes one. But we can assert the largest order, the large human values daily, the only order large enough to see.”