After reading a poem recently, I found myself thinking of what I did, or where I went, in my mind, to help get through the devastation of a relationship break up.
I confess that for a long time I didn’t want to do anything. The pain inside was so bad that, for a time, all of me just shut down. Reading, writing, listening, in fact any kind of ‘doing’ at all was impossible, out of the question. The ‘things’ in my brain (I’m not what you would call even an amateur on the biology of the brain) which would normally give me the impetus to ‘do’ stuff, had taken such a blow from the break up that it had seriously malfunctioned. It would, in due course, re-function, but for now it was like a car in a garage stripped of all those internal things (not big on the mechanics of cars either) which normally enabled it to move, anywhere. Things like wheels and an engine (maybe I do know a little car stuff).
When enough time passed and something, somewhere at the core of my brain, a survival instinct I guess, was triggered by something unknown, I forced myself to read, a desperate attempt at diversion. Although the words I read, the stories they conveyed, never for a moment shut out the thoughts, memories, pain of the relationship, the images which had once thrilled and now assaulted my imagination quite brutally, my brain nonetheless seemed to be grateful for somewhere to escape to for awhile.
I’m a slow reader so I only read in small stages, but amongst the books I read were Phil Rickman’s To Dream of the Dead and The Secrets of Pain, and about a quarter of Justin Cronin’s The Passage. I intend to keep going with the latter, just takes me time. I have read most in Phil Rickman’s series and maybe the familiarity of much loved characters appealed to me, while Justin Cronin’s book simply seemed different to books I had recently read and a little dark also. Possibly that sense of darkness appealed. I began to love some of the characters also. I also read little pieces of other books, nothing more than a sentence, a paragraph, sometimes entirely at random. I loved the sentence in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, right at the start, “Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more grey each one than what had gone before.” Sometimes I just love the power of a beautifully constructed sentence, whether describing something good or bad. The title of Linda Gillards’ Emotional Geology. The simple everyday real life language and humour of Diane Moody’s Confessions of a Prayer Slacker.
In all this I was reminded of the title of a C S Lewis book, Of Other Worlds. I love that title. At that time in my life, when the reality of my own life was too much to take, I found refuge in other worlds where for a time, I could lose myself to some extent.
I wouldn’t say the pain has completely passed, perhaps it never will but I am grateful beyond measure for those stories (there may be others but those are the ones that immediately come to mind) which gave me a little respite from the the worst of that storm. Looking back now, I am amazed at the power contained within a story.
You, reader, will have your own stories you go to to help ‘get you through’. Maybe a book you already knew of, maybe a new one that took you by surprise. Your own somewhere amazing.
Feel free to share.
Thanks for reading.
Somewhere Amazing 🙂