Sometimes when I revisit a book, I find it’s nothing like what I remembered. Often it’s because I’ve moved on…I have different interests, different taste. Sometimes its a mood thing. For an entire year and a half, I read nothing but short stories. Sometimes it’s because I’m in a different place in my life…I used to love super-violent, Quentin Tarantino-esque movies. Now I find them tiring and upsetting.
Generally it means that I’m in a different place, different mood. When one of my favorite books doesn’t stand up to a test of time…it can be a little upsetting. Because these books stand as markers in my life, its difficult to know that you’ve moved so far away from any point in your life, that the books you once cherished now seem slightly silly.
It’s with great relief that I can read The Beggar Maid and Magic For Beginners without feeling such things. Though the books have changed for me…everything seems slightly shifted 90 degrees in my perception and interpretation of the stories, I still love them for what they are at the core—smart, perceptive, but more importantly sly and odd stories about what it is to be human.
They are different though. There is sometimes a wistful sadness or bitterness to the stories that I missed when I was younger. I hadn’t learned yet that life can be disappointing, misleading, not at all what you expect. I don’t think I had properly internalized the notion that life can disappoint you. Not that I have a strong grasp of that notion yet. Life has been kind to me…dangerously so. But the twist and turns these past years have shown me at least that I have no idea where I’m going or what life has yet in store for me. It makes me understand the people in these stories better.
On a complete different note, I happened upon this while surfing the internet. It’s from Cselaw Mioz’s, A Captive Mind:
“It is sometimes better to stammer from an excess of emotion than to speak in well-turned phrases. The inner voice that stops us when we might say too much is wise.”