I punched in the door code and walked into the locked memory unit of the senior living residence where Mom was now living. As I walked into the hallway, I was surprised to see her seated in a wheelchair right in front of me.
The smell of chicken soup wafted through my dreams as I rolled over in bed late one evening. Though not so late as to be early morning when the dreaming state is strongest, I had fallen into dreaming early. I pulled the comforter up and over my exposed shoulders. For such a silent night, rather then feeling restful, I lay in bed listening, dreaming, and smelling real-time soup cooking in the kitchen. The coldness of the room was seeping into my dreaming and the smell of soup reminded me the crock-pot needed turned off. I knew without thought that the paralysis in my body meant I was dreaming deeply.
Every writer is a reader and vice versa. Recently, I had a friend recommend that I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I was moving away from my home of over a decade and leaving family which had lived close by for that same length of time. My friend told me the book came to mind as we were talking about my upcoming move. Even though the move made sense in my head, my heart was breaking and I was in tears more often than not because I was leaving Hawaii and moving to California. (I apologize California residents, but I’m fairly sure there were local Hawaiians applauding my move!)
Those kinds of intuitive connections are important to me and so I went to the library and got the audio version because I spend a good deal of time in the car. Years ago I’d read the short novel and remembered really liking it. Books always came to me that way: a friend and I would be in conversation and based on what we were sharing with each other, the friend would say, “Have you read…? It became a means of connecting what was happening within my psyche and what was happening around me. Always, there’s been a connection that links the two, something “meant for me” as I read the book, a bringing together of yin and yang, in a sense.
Every reader, if an avid one, is a closet writer. (Well, that may be a bit of biased opinion because I was one for years, but there’s truth to it, I believe.) That connection forms the basis for those who write Amazon Reviews, that and the reviews themselves becoming a marketing tool. I hadn’t noticed it before but there are people who write hundreds of reviews for Amazon. And I’ve recently read reviews that end up being a near novella in their own right—goodly treatises that delve into character, setting, plot, conflict, theme, etc.
In the scenario I’m sharing, I read The Alchemist before I read the reviews. Doing so turned out to be a good thing!
The book moved me. It’s the story of such a lovely journey! I’m not going to review the book—there are scads of reviews on Amazon, but I loved the book as much the second time around as I did the first. I read it at a time in the desert when the heat from the blistering summer sun faded ambition and bleached dreams. The heat got into every pore of my being and it took strategic planning to make it through each scorching day. Plus it was a synchrony for me—it connected internal and external, spiritual and physical—due in part to the setting for the book, which takes place in the Saharan Desert.
After listening to the book via audio I wanted a paper copy. Off to Amazon, I went. That’s when I chanced to read the reviews. The reviews ranged from “This is Zen magic” to “…and he claims to be a writer”, (both of which are my summary of the spectrum of reviews).
I understand the purpose for the reviews—I think. What I’m not so sure about is whether or not they serve the purpose for which they were intended. Or, have they become a venue for wannabe writers to practice their written voice, a place for friends to hi-five friends, or merely opinion poll? Not necessarily a bad thing, you just gotta know what you’re looking for when you look up an Amazon book review.
Familiar to millions of people worldwide is a word that impacts each one of us at various times throughout our lifetime. Every culture on the planet engages with this word because of its ability to change lives. To access this word is within the capability of every human being. The word fuels wars as it crushes the enemy without a backward glance, yet it also moves gracefully amongst the peaceful.
Traversing from the lowly to the most high, the word has no regard for stature even though many believe it is out of their field of influence. The word induces mystery and intrigue. With it you can move mountains, without it you are seated at the foot of the mountain, pining for those that appear to navigate at their own whim.
Too many things in my life are on hold at the moment. Ever feel that way? Seems like I’ve been waiting, waiting, waiting for a couple of major things to fall into place but they’re still in limbo. Work is busy and that’s a good thing but the evenings are draggin’ and stretch longer than the entire day. Time stalls, refusing to move.
While I was caring for my Mom last year after my Father died, I took up the hobby of quilting. I’ve spoken about it before: how quilting helped me get through a very difficult time with my Mom who’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease on the same day we held my father’s funeral, now two years ago.
That wasn’t an easy year. I expected my background in mental health would sustain and inform me about how to care for another human being on a daily basis, twenty four seven, who was succumbing to such a paralyzing and bewildering disease. Alzheimer’s Disease wipes away brain cells as it moves counterclockwise around the brain erasing memory, good judgment, healthy inhibition, recognition, and eventually, language.
When I arrived at my parent’s home and settled into caring for my Mom, I quickly realized that I needed something to keep me busy. I’ve never been much of a housekeeper, neither is my Mom, so in this regards we were a good match for each other. Waken at 6:00 am and want to clean house? Nope. There must be something better to do.