Friday, August 17, 2007

Eddie's heaven....


'There's little white lights everywhere
Your childhood dog in Dad's old chair
And more memories than my heart can hold
When Eva's singing "Fields of Gold"

...in my heaven.'
(Mary Chapin Carpenter)

I read a remarkable short story this week whilst in London Town. It was truly breathtaking, writing at its finest, story telling at its most intoxicating. Dana blogged, 'sometimes, (though when I think about it, this seems to have happened to me more than sometimes) you find a timely more meaningful little nugget left behind. Initially, you pick it up thinking it will simply be entertainment only to realize it has a lingering effect. The message from the story stays with you. The character slips under your skin. And you quickly realize your perceptions may have been nudged in a slightly different direction than you had anticipated........... Good thing I had already read all of Maeve's books. Out of the dozen or so sitting in the pile which I had never read, I chose the right one. Or it chose me......

I will not try to review it (the five people you meet in heaven: Mitch Albom) - that's the thing about a story, a parable; if you’ve got to explain it, don’t bother. Small stories with big points - they hold a strange dichotomy, part sad, part funny – culminating with the sting in the tail. Ben Okri suggests that the storyteller is one who inspires far more than the one who is inspired, the one who remoulds so that the world becomes transformed....Okri further suggests that ‘stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories individuals and nations live by and you change the individuals and nations.’ Stories are complex and may not be immediately self revealing, but may leave the listener somewhat undecided and needing to do further reflection and work.

For the record, I reckon the parables of Jesus are more persuasive than his miracles.....

so, here's a couple of paragraphs to wet you appetite....

'Young men go to war. Sometimes because they have to, sometimes because they want to. Always, they feel they are supposed to. This comes from the sad, layered stories of life, which over the centuries have seen courage confused with picking up arms, and cowardice confused with laying them down.'

'There are no random acts. That we are all connected. That you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.'

Dovetailed with these gems Frank McCourt says that author Mitch Albom 'takes us to a new level; that no one is born with anger. No story stands alone. But it's the story itself, the life of Eddie, that will keep you up nights, because it's the story of anyone who takes chances with love and adversity.'

.....truly a tale to keep by your side when you are lost, a story you will return to again and again, because, as Amy Tan suggests, it possesses the rare magic to let you see yourself and the world anew...

11 comments:

Awareness said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it Paul. Eddie's story truly offered me a different lens.

I'm wondering if you have ever read any of Alice Munro's short stories? She is a beautiful writer, who has the ability to capture inner thoughts and struggles of her characters. Whenever I read one of her stories, I feel like I have entered the under the skin of another. She's an inspiration.

Kate's Typewriter said...

mary chapin carpenter is one of my favorites ever! :) and the picture is incredibly beautiful. i love stopping by here. it's always an adventure.
i really appreciate the encouragement.
have you by any chance read Annie Dillard? your writing style reminds me somewhat of hers.

mister tumnus said...

sounds good! one for the wish list i think. re:the photo- have you read my last blog entry? or is it just another wee coincidence?!

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

dana
loved it - left me uncomfortable - refreshed the irritation - i like that

not heard of miss munroe - what do you recommend - i need all the inspiration i can get....

kate
miss carpenter is one of the most under-rated artists out there...

keep writing from the emptiness - the end of the world - that's where the 'real' salt and light in a tasteless and dark world comes from... you have a gift.....nurture it

i love annie's work and for you to mention me in the same sentence of someone i am not fit to tie their boot laces humbles me....merci

the pic is from the jersey shore 1994.....springsteen country......

shirley
funny......one of many wee's me thinks.....grab it for the journey to the belt green....see you in the beer tent.....

Awareness said...

It made me uncomfortable too, which is why I think it has stayed with me.....I kept thinking Willie Loman.....and wondering if he would've receiving some strange consolation while on his way to heaven....bittersweet in many ways.

Which is why I thought of Alice Munro because there doesn't seem to be a real tie to her from this book, except that she is the MOST exceptional short story author with respect to character development.

She has many books published...has written many articles in the New Yorker. One of Canada's finest writers by far. The book which stayed with me the most was Progress of Love....will send it to you if you would like.

in the meantime.....here's a link...it's wikipedia, but it is thorough and lists all of her publications and awards....a beautiful woman and would love to meet her for a glass of wine one day. I've heard her interviewed many times and she just sounds like an authentic gem.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Munro

ps.let me know if you would like the book....it is sitting on my bookshelf asking for someone to read it.... :)

Awareness said...

ok.......im now thinking that if i met everyone i wanted to for a glass of wine, i'd be considered an absolute lush..... i guess one could be called worse things, right?

Anna said...

That is a wonderful image Paul. Sorry that I caught you off guard with my post! Sometimes in blogland because I pretty much post about everything there is no time to process or make decisions....we decided to get through some of the rougher more emotional parts of our move and then I can share. Funny thing is....most of the harder parts are happening now. I sure do miss London and the adjustments og coming home have been big.

Thanks for coming by Paul....are you getting ready for Greenbelt? The people I am close to there are playing and are getting excited.

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

dana
that would be very kind - sounds like my cup of tea (or glass of wine)....

....and yes there are worst things to be called - lush isn't used much in these parts....sadly

anna
i like the image too - used to be colour but looks much better in sepia me thinks

yes, getting ready for Gb, may get another post in before I go on wednesday and then it will be mad for a while - hope to catch a few speakers, poets and bands though - who are your friends again?

hope the 'finding yourselves again' goes well. maybe it will be like Eliot, where you leave where you began and then come back to know it fully for the first time....maybe i read too much poetry. anyhow, hope all is well

Sandra said...

This book moved me too and stuck with me long after I read it.

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

sandra
started reading Ishmael Beah's 'a long way gone: memoirs of a soldier boy' which is a corrosive, eloquent and illuminating account of a soldier's life - and you know? am reading it wondering which 5 people will be waiting for him and what lessons thay will reveal.....

bluemountainmama said...

as soon as i read the post title, i knew what you were talking about. i loved this book. a neighbor lent it to me a few years back. i laid it aside for awhile, but then wanted a shorter read and picked it up. it does have the lingering effect you speak of....

i also liked 'tuesdays with morrie'....another book by mitch albom.