|Photo by Ryan Mahoney|
Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
For the last two days I needed to rest and make the transition from having finished The River Project, to whats next. I seem to always feel at loose ends and restless after a big project is completed. I'm usually pretty tired and I know its not yet time to start a new project. I've been working hard physically and mentally to get it done. Its finished - now what? While my physical body demands that I rest - while my mind struggles to rest. I have found that these transitions are a good time for a book. I had watched as many tv shows as I could stand in my tiredness on Saturday and by Sunday after our service and then working in the kitchen, I was back to my former state of exhaustion. I needed to escape into the world of a book.
My son Niah had picked up a few books that he thought might be written in a steam punk style. Here's how the Urban Dictionary defines Steampunk for those of you who might not be familiar with the term. "Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan "What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner." It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes"
It probably would not have mattered what I was reading I just needed my mind to be distracted so my body could rest. So for the past two days I have read a delightful steampunk novel by Kenneth Oppel called Airborn. It was about a cabin boy on a lighter than air Titanic like passenger airship. It was filled with a fanciful un discovered creatures called air cats, and of course pirates and being shipwrecked on a island. It has been a perfect diversion for me, a historical fiction in feel with a science fiction, fantasy twist. I won't say it was the best book I've ever read but it has kept my mind engaged and left me not wanting to put the book down to know would happen next.
There are times when I can't get enough of books - it is like I am starved for words and I need to fill my mind with the images painted by them. I don't know how long this little book binge will last - it looks like there is a second book in this series. I will have to get back to my normal day to day routine but I will fill some of my free time in the pages of a book.
There is quote that I really like from the book Inkheart by Cornelia Funke that kind of defines what books do for me. It a conversation that takes place in the library of Elinor the eccentric aunt of young Meggie.
"Elinor Loredan: But I just adore everything Persian.
Meggie Folchart: You've been to Persia, then?
Elinor Loredan: Yes, a hundred times. Along with St. Petersburg, Paris, Middle-Earth, distant planets and Shangri-la. And I never had to leave this room. Books are adventure. They contain murder and mayhem and passion. They love anyone who opens them. "
I had the privilege this past week to sit and listen to four chapters read aloud from the book of memoirs that a friend of mine is writing. I would like to say that I know her pretty well and I could even remember some of the things times that she related, but I had never been inside her head. There is something powerful and profound in the way that the written word in her memoirs, were able to transport me back to those scenes and allow me to see them through her eyes. To feel her pain and to understand in a far deeper way the journey she had traveled. She said in putting them to words that she was better able to understand and make sense of herself and the things she had been through.
That is what I love about the written word and books they allow us to see through the eyes of someone else. CS Lewis writes 'Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? ... “We read to know that we are not alone.” Sometimes it helps to see that characters and people in books experience and feel the same joys, and frustrations that we feel. It is good to know that we are not alone.
I have found by writing that the interior me and the exterior me are becoming more and more the same person. For far too long I kept the interior me hidden, where one might know my actions and see my behavior - rarely was I able to find the courage to express the person on the inside. I write and create art, and take photographs to help others see from the perspective of the inner me. For me it took finding the courage to believe that God must have created me to do more than wear a mask and act out the parts and roles that I believed others expected of me. I believe he created me to express from the depths of who I am, to write and to sing, to create so that others might also be carried along in my expressions of who I am in Him.
Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become. ~ C. S. Lewis
I think perhaps after the creative output of a big project that my soul needs to be fed by music, art, reading, time spent in the word and in prayer. I guess I had not really put a finger on why until today.
You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.
C. S. Lewis