Wednesday, August 11, 2010

After the Vacation, some thoughts

First, for those who might have been keeping up, I was away. I had no internet access and so no opportunity to post. Also, I have to admit, my mind was a little blank. It wasn't the most exciting or stress free vacation, but it was a vacation. I really can't and won't complain, especially since I now apparently live in the land of eternal summer.

Although I can't claim to have been as productive as I am when I'm glued to my computer screen I did some work. And thought about Amelia, thought about families and sisters and the odd bond that starts so young and never quite lets go. It took me so long to get to what was obvious, sisters are competitors from birth. When one sister is so out-sized, the other can never really hope to catch up. Yet Muriel has what Amelia loses, a life. It's what my Amelia hungers for and gets a chance to re-experience, life in all its delicious complexity. It won't last forever, just for the course of the book, still it's something to be able to grab hold again.

I think what's sad is how much we forget this. That life is truly remarkable and wonderful. All the truisms do apply, it's a gift. Yet we spend so much of our time worrying over the small things, enjoying so little of what goes on around us. We see, but we don't take things in. I'm guilty as charged. When I'm away from my life I realize that the things I hold precious are really quite ordinary. The quality of the light on any given day, watching those I love when they're unaware that they're being observed, walking down a street I've never been down before and seeing, really seeing the people who pass. Eating. Drinking. Thinking. Loving. Wanting. Needing. Doing. Waiting. Everything in its turn.

Muriel offers Amelia the opportunity to do all this and Amelia gives Muriel the opportunity to take hold herself. Because grief is potent, it can make someone lose whatever optimism they had. I want Muriel to learn how to live past her grief, and I want Amelia to understand what living out the rest of her life could have meant. I want both of them to engage with each other and to rediscover what they had as children, that incredible sense of wonder. Really, to be honest, I want that for all of us.


  1. Amelia understanding what living out the rest of her life could have meant... hmmm...this sounds tricky. Assuming the rest of her life could have been reasonably happy and productive, does she grieve at missing out on it?

    Glad you got a vacation even if it wasn't the Riviera.:)

  2. What isn't tricky with this book? I sometimes/often wonder what I was thinking. However, your support buoys me and I'm pretty sure no one else will ever come up with this particular idea. I think what one misses most about life is living it. For her that would mean both elation at all the incredible scientific advances, and then a growing sense of unease. Who is she in this new world? And what does it mean if this is real and all the people she cared about so deeply are gone? It's a sort of Rip Van Winkle moment, although she has a great deal of curiosity and that will certainly serve her well.

    Thanks on the vacation, I barely remember it one day back. Still I know I must have been away, look at all the email I missed.

  3. Maybe she'll need some comic relief in her melancholy. I just thought of an alias she could adopt for her new identity: Irene Bolam. HAHAHAHA!!!

  4. Perfect, and don't think I don't go there in my own acerbic way.

  5. Love this post Naomi...yes, the sense of wonder- maybe that's what we're here for?