Striking the Nail on the Head

A moment of precision

I was sitting on a rock in the park under the shade of a leafy elm tree while the sun fell in warming patches over my shoulders with a book in my hands and a pencil in my hair. Why was there a pencil in my hair? I shoved it in there when I wasn’t scrawling in the margins. There was a sentence I read that I had to reread more slowly, lingering over the words, feeling the preciseness of this thought. A sentence that struck me, so much so that I had to take a picture of and send it to my husband:

“Home was Alan’s voice at the end of a long, hard day; his arms around her; the known quantity of his love for her and hers for him (page 310).”

If Ashley’s name were to appear here instead of Alan’s, it could be a line from my innermost heart’s diary. In a world where ‘home’ is even more of a tricky concept for me than Morton alludes to just sentences before – a place I don’t belong, Ashley became my home. Together, we built, what I hope my daughter’s feel is, a home. In the reading of that sentence, Morton stuck a chord and hit the figurative “nail on the head”. She nailed down an idea in a way that speaks with piercing reality to me as a reader. These kinds of moments must be what writers hope to achieve; the time when your writing and your reader connect in a “let me read that again” way. I felt such a connection to the character, Juliet, and an appreciation of Morton that this book is moving it’s way up on my favourite books list quite quickly. It seems that there were a number of things that I would want to underline, ruminate on, and remember from my reading today.

There is a scene where Juliet is talking to her son Tip about his ‘imaginary friend’. Tip tells his mother, “She (the friend) makes me laugh” to which she replies, ” If you are going to spend time with people, it’s important to choose people who can make you laugh (page 318).” Not only did I think of Ashley, but also my close family, my teaching friends who work at my school, my best friends from Uni, my TGIF group friends – all of whom make me laugh, loud and often. To me, this seems very salient advice because like Elizabeth Bennet, “I dearly love a laugh (page 57, Pride and Prejudice).”

Speaking of laughing, I couldn’t help myself from chuckling outright, in a park surrounded by kids and grown-ups, when I read what Juliet imagines her husband might say to her in her current situation. This line is one I will remember and quote often in the future:

“Being a parent’s a breeze… No more difficult than than flying a plane with a blindfold on and holes in your wings (page 319).”

Cue the imagination movie: Me, sitting in the pilot’s seat of a 1920’s bi-plane with my eyes covered with a white blindfold flapping out in the wind over the wings that would make a pretty lace patterned table top. But, in all seriousness, parenting is like that sometimes – blind leaps of faith, hoping you make good choices, and that everyone one will be safe and happy when you are finished the flight. For sure, the exhilaration and excitement is there, too. When you watch them conquer the tough kid stuff in life, take hold of a new hobby, succeed at something they have been attempting for ages – there is nothing quite as rewarding.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter, my current read is one that has been on my TBR list since it came out, it is also my book club book for September. Something in the universe connected with this book and made it a need-to-read, available at a second hand store, and a book that could keep my attention during this hectic phase of my life.

Actually, I’m finding reading this story rewarding. It’s chock full of interesting characters. There is an engaging narrative structure and Morton’s writing is lyrical and beautiful. Even better, it has a plot full of mysterious history. There is truth in her writing. There are times when Kate Morton describes or tells home-truths with empathy, precision, humour, and a keen human awareness. I won’t tell you all of the instances where her writing had an effect on me because I think you should have the chance to have those moments yourself. Not to mention that you might have different things that strike you as you read it, which is the beauty of reading – books mean different things to different people at different times. As her Edward would say, “Truth is beauty and beauty is divine (page 249).” I think the way she brings truth, beauty, and an intriguing story together makes this book really special.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter, my current read is one that has been on my TBR list since it came out, it is also my book club book for September. ¬†Something in the universe connected with this book and made it a need-to-read, available at a second hand store, and a book that could keep my attention during this hectic phase of my life.