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.”


39 Comments Add yours

  1. slpmartin says:

    Well with you post so early tonight…well day…oh whatever…I can have a a sip with you befoe I go to sleep. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Night-night Charlie 🙂

  2. halfp1nt says:

    Morning, Cindy! Have a super day 🙂

  3. nrhatch says:

    Hey, the haircut on that book looks like your haircut! Is that where you got the idea?

    I love books like that, that always seem to say just what we wish to hear.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Ha, perhaps it was a subliminal prompt 🙂

  4. What an inspiring keepsake. I have a couple of treasured books like that too.
    You must miss your little shop.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      Not really, Mandy, it was terribly stressful to worry about paying the rent in the winter months.

  5. Madmom says:

    I have the book but am yet to read it. After seeing your extract from it, I’ll give it a bash.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s brutal reading in some parts, Madmom, but such beautiful writing.

  6. leigh says:

    Ooh, I relate.

  7. Tandy says:

    sometimes, living in a seasonal town is worst when the visitors are here 🙂

  8. Tilly Bud says:

    I love the idea of you sewing roses onto everything.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Still do it sometimes 🙂

  9. nursemyra says:

    I just finished an excellent book Cindy… I’m recommending it to everyone. “Stolen World” by Jennie Erin Smith

    1. theonlycin says:

      Have ordered the book, thanks Myra 🙂

  10. Leeswammes says:

    Thanks for dedicating your post to me, Cindy. That is super sweet of you!

    I loved reading your post about the rose shop. Very funny.

    Fugitive Pieces, I can swear I read it, just don’t remember anything about it. I think I should re-read it some time….

    1. theonlycin says:

      Would be worth a re-read 🙂

  11. Isn’t it awesome when a tiny sip can say so much? Lovely post, Cindy, and you took me along to that little seaside town with you – ah, I miss it!
    Sunshine xx

    1. libraryscene says:

      “No one wants to read it on holiday” Enough said, I shall see if we have it on the shelf! Love the intro, very poetic!

      1. theonlycin says:

        It’s not a cheerful book, libraryscene, but the author is masterful 🙂

    2. theonlycin says:

      I’ll be in that town next weekend, Sunshine 😀

  12. So you did do what you always wanted to do for a little time? (I remember you commenting in one of my posts that you always wanted to be a florist).
    You have made me very curious about this book. Have noted it to see if i can download it one my new kindle. “wink, wink”.

  13. The quote is wonderful, presumably from the book????

    Wonderful post. Thanks, Cindy … Hope your day goes well.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, Jamie, I just opened the book at a random page.
      Hope you’re having a good day / evening too 🙂

  14. Ooooh, this looks great. And if it’s beaten Jane! Sounds like a must-read!

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s dark, Kate, but her prose is breathtaking.

  15. souldipper says:

    Your little town sounds like my home island…the precious second book store along with tiny shops filled with artistic labours planned for the next wave of visitors.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I need to find some pics of the little town and post them for you 🙂

  16. SuziCate says:

    Never heard of the book, but love the snippet from it. Don’t you love accidentally finding a treasure?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, suzicate, I do 🙂

  17. tsuchigari says:

    What a lovely little passage – I’m waiting for Prayer for Owen Meany from the library, it comes highly recommended.

    1. theonlycin says:

      You are going to LOVE Owen Meany!

  18. granny1947 says:

    Morning Love….mwah!!!!

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