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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Reading by the fire

Reading by the fire is something I would recommended for cold wintry afternoons. There is a certain smugness about it, a feeling that all is right with your world. A cup of tea and a modest plate of biscuits enhances the pleasure. But finding the right book to read is the real purpose of this treat. It must be a book that is captivating, that has the power to transport you to the author's world completely and allows you to wallow in all the emotions unfolding in the tale.

It is so strange when you look up from reading a intriguing book to find yourself back in your comfy armchair with the fire blazing merrily when seconds before you had been lost on the forbidding Kilimanjaro volcanic mountain range, or fighting off a murderous assailant in a dark city ally way. I love those books that have the power to chill your bones and make you shiver just from the prose describing the snow, to make your heart race with fear or your eyes swell with tears.

I suppose that writing blogs is a way that we have to set down our emotions, to describe our lives, make observations on the world around us and engage with a wider audience, people we will never meet in real life. Yet so many of our authors feel like close friends, like people we know and love. That is the power of the written word. I have started writing blogs before and certainly kept on doing it even when I knew that no one was actually reading anything I wrote. Essentially I write for myself, for the cathartic value and to capture a snapshot of my life that I can reflect upon years later and assess how much or little I have changed.

Prose, Poetry and Lyrics

I love poets and poetry, I like prose that makes you stop and listen to the sound of the words resonating in your head after you've read them. I love lyrics that do not need music to touch the nerve endings of your heart and make your emotions fly. I love the sheer beauty of words and with them the peace that can be made, the humour that can be shared, the wounds that can be healed. Poetry saved me from my wretched childhood and swept me up on its comforts and took me far away, books were my friends, they were whole worlds that I could live in for hours at a time. The worst thing in all the world is to be shut out of the world of words, to be unable to express your thoughts in prose that will linger in the memory of others. I read poetry every day and today I read the following:

by C P Cavafy

Days to come stand in front of us
like rows of burning candles -
golden, warm, and vivid candles.

Days past fall behind us,
a gloomy line of burnt out candles;
the nearest are still smoking,
cold, melted, and bent.

I don't want to look at them: their shape saddens me,
and it saddens me to remember their original light.
I look ahead at my burning candles.

I don't want to turn, don't want to see, terrified,
how quickly that dark line gets longer,
how quickly one more dead candle joins another.

The Hardship of Accounting
By Robert Frost

Never ask of money spent
Where the spender thinks it went.
No one was ever meant
To remember or invent
What he did with every cent.