I apologise in advance for the words that are about to spew forth. I went to book club last night and our discussion was so diverse – not just about the two books that we read – that I kind of came home and ruminated on it all and couldn’t get to sleep. I was home at 10.30pm but I did see 1am on the alarm clock and I was awake again at 5am. WTF is with that?
So where to start? Pride and Prejudice was last month’s book club selection, and when I last blogged about it, I hadn’t yet finished it. I ended up enjoying it to a degree. Yes, the way it was written kind of made me frustrated, it was convoluted at times and I felt like getting a red pen and writing ‘TIGHTEN THIS’ across most of it. But then, it was written in 1813 and I guess this is a sign of the times for then. I can understand why it is a classic and I believe that maybe in another few years, I’d be happy to have a re-read and see if I pick up anything new in it, now that I am familiar with the writing style of Jane Austen. And the movie – I am keen to watch it and see how it compares.
SIDE NOTE: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant was another that I had not finished yet when I posted about it. Quite simply, it is a compelling and beautifully written novel. It encompasses womanhood and female bonds and when both of my daughters are old enough to read it (and by this I mean maturity, not reading level), I will be passing it on to them to read.
The second book that we talked about last night was our current one, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. The majority of us loved this book, and I am one of them. It is so completely different to anything that I have ever read. Victoria is now eighteen and after having had a childhood of being in the foster care system and continuously let down or mistaken or sabotaging her possible opportunities at happiness, she gets a second chance. She communicates using the Victorian language of flowers (for example: marigold = grief) and this has served her well until she must learn to open herself up in other ways. This novel skips between past and present, but you are never taken out of the story; it flows well and it all melds together wonderfully.
Because one of the questions about this book was what we all thought of the American foster care system after having read it, we also moved onto the topic of actually being a foster carer here in Australia. I think I can honestly say that I don’t think I would have the emotional capacity to do it. Obviously the majority of kids that would be coming to you are from broken homes, violent backgrounds, parents with a drug abuse or alcoholic history and so on – and while I feel desperately for these children, I believe I would have enormous trouble not getting attached to these kids in need and would hate to give them back knowing that they are possibly being thrown straight back into the thick of a really shit situation. And while this doesn’t help the already overworked system, it is quite simply how I identify with the whole state of affairs. Heavy stuff, right?
Now, another topic discussed was clairvoyants. Diverse bunch aren’t we? I have never been to one, and quite frankly am still not sure that I would be comfortable to see one. I don’t disbelieve in them (I think there are too many things in this world that can’t be explained), but also realise that there are probably more shonky ones out there who would be keen to take your money and tell you any old crap to keep you happy than real ones. I am probably more afraid of finding a clairvoyant who is a ‘proper’ one and hearing stuff that I’m not ready or don’t want to hear. But at the same time, I do want to hear it. Does that make sense? If my husband reads this, he’ll be shaking his head and rolling his eyes and thinking, weirdo.
The subject of raising children, and in particular the differences of boys and girls (hello to Steve Biddulph, I will be buying two specific books soon) and when you should be encouraging them to participate in group activities and finding their own groove in life and everything in between was also brought up. Oh boy. If only being a parent was straight-forward. But then life would get boring, yes?
And finally… *inhale* I also came out last night. No, not as someone who is at AA or identifies as LGBT. I came out as a writer, to my book club group. And I tell you what, it got me in a bit of a flap. It is so true what many people say, that many writers are introverts at heart and to say out loud that we write, almost feels like we are admitting that we just sit around all day long wasting our time and not doing anything worthwhile like proper work. Which is a load of bullshit. Most writers still have full-time jobs and/or families and/or commitments and/or health issues and/or a life in general. Wednesday is my only (almost) set-in-stone writing day, because I have no kids under my feet. And while I don’t ‘work’ in a normal job, I do do the farm book work and have three kids, two of whom are participating in guitar, NRL, tennis and dance this year. It makes it bloody busy after school, I’ll just let you know quietly. And then there’s the littlest one who constantly needs feeding or being pushed on the swing or supervised in the toilet and all that stuff that is a part of being a mum… And so while I am slowly letting others know that I am a writer (because I am!), which is something that close family and friends do already know, there is still a bit of a ‘What are other people going to think?’ feeling that I have running around in my brain all the time. The ladies last night were very encouraging though, and I think I have some new beta-readers when the time comes. I did mention it might not be for another year or two yet, but they’re there waiting in the wings… *waves* Hello, book club girls! *exhale*
So, my questions for you today are:
Have you read Pride and Prejudice or The Language of Flowers or The Red Tent or Raising Boys or Raising Girls? Thoughts?
Are you a foster carer? How do you go? If not, do you think you could be one?
Do you write, but are too scared to admit it?
And now that I have all of that off my chest, I’ll get to work on my manuscript, which is currently sitting at 14,111 words (not 15,000 like I thought last night – hopefully I’ll hit that today!) See y’all on the other side 🙂