My treasure chest of life

In an earlier post, Fictional words with real-world swagger, I talked about how we can apply made-up worlds to our everyday lives and achieve real-world outcomes.

Today, I want to give a shout out to the sentences that take your breath away; not in a oh-my-god-that’s-horrendous type of way, but in the I-have-to-go-back-and-read-that-again type of way.

These sentences aren’t usually the most poetic or rhythmic – though they may also be that. More often, they are a plain language observation that hits at some truth in your life; a truth that has escaped you until the ‘book’ points it out.

This is what stopped me in my tracks last night.

‘I am old now, or at least, I am no longer young, and everything I see reminds me of something else I’ve seen, such that I see nothing for the first time. … It is the curse of age, that all things are reflections of other things.’

Taken from ‘The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains …’ reproduced in
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances’ by Neil Gaiman (2015).*

Did you read it more than once? It’s okay if you didn’t. That’s the beauty of words and stories – we all take away something different.

For me, this passage works on a few levels. As someone who is approaching, ahem, middle age (terrible term, but we’ll go with it), it speaks a truth about not seeing things for the first time. I also see it as a warning of sorts; a reminder to not lose that childhood sense of wonder and discovery that makes every moment magical. A reminder to enjoy each experience on its own terms, not as an experience relative to another previously had.

It also reminds me of the value of age; how every moment I have lived and cried and celebrated and struggled is a moment stored away in my treasure chest of life. A moment I can draw upon for my next piece of writing.

*The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains …’ draws upon Scottish folklore, superbly intertwining the essential human truths of loss, love, revenge, and of the keeping of secrets. I haven’t listened to the audio yet – I’m worried that it might break the spell that the story has over me. Please let me know if you have and if you recommend it. Cheers.

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