A very special “THANK YOU!!!” to Mr. R’s class for letting me speak with you all today! I was impressed with your wonderful questions, talent, and enthusiasm! You made me feel so happy and honored to be there, and I feel very lucky to have met you all!!
I’ve been reading A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn. My psychologist recommended it after we spoke about my dead-but-kinda-not dreams, saying it had much the same feel. It’s not the rhythm of books I usually read, and it’s not a rip-roaring page-turner that I can’t put down, but there’s something very…whole…about it. Something that feels very empty and that makes it feel complete. Which is a very odd feeling to try to describe, and I’ve done a terrible job even here, but it has a good feel to me. Human. It feels very human.
It captures the oddities of behavior so well. How a stranger can say something that sets us off, but we don’t know it, and it trying to get out of that bad mood we actually just keep trundling down the well-worn path of that pattern. How we can cling to what we know, and tell ourselves that we’re mightier for it, and then later realize it was because we were scared all along and it was easy to feel big when we were somewhere comfortable. But the book doesn’t pass judgement on that feeling. It observes it without malice, and I find myself developing a fondness for these characters in those moments that is a happy melancholy. “I can relate, brother,” I think with a sad smile, “And it’s okay. It’s okay to be human. We both are.”
It’s a very simple book, but it has a lot to say, in such a gentle way that you don’t realize until later that you’d learned something. The first day I started to read it, after I put it down I felt this rise of feeling, something a little like grief, like I was mourning something, but had forgotten what had been lost. And after that, I was able to figure out what my dead-but-kinda-not dreams had been about.
In a way, it’s a healing book. I hope one day my own work can provide the same service. I’ll get there. I know I will.
What stories have been healing ones for you?