This year, I have read some very interesting, and very “different” books. I read New Earth which is sort of about spirituality and focuses a lot on focusing on the present moment; I read Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World which was a very bizarre story in which death – particularly the imminence of death – featured quite prominently; I read A Tale for the Time Being which dealt with suicide a lot; and, not too long ago, I finished reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations which is a philosophical text that addresses, among many things, the idea of transience.
All these books – which, let it be noted, I did not intentionally choose to read in that order, or consciously plan to read them all this year, but rather that it so happened that I came across them or otherwise felt compelled to pick them up when I did – all these books have got me thinking, subconsciously and consciously, from time to time, about how everything is transient and ephemeral and impermanent and all those beautiful words that mean more or less the same thing.
I’ve still been reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, still been carrying it around with me everywhere I go (I always take a book wherever I go – well, almost everywhere). A colleague (now, sadly, ex-colleague) commented the other week, when she saw me walking around at work with it, that she thought I was holding the Bible. I joked to her that it basically was like a bible to me.
I know I said I was going to do a series of posts about Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, but I hadn’t planned on writing the next one so soon (not that I really know how long I was going to wait before the next post…)
This one will be short, though (yeah, no, that didn’t happen)
I was down in South Australia for the week-end just gone. It was my first time there, but instead of spending any significant time in Adelaide, I stayed in a small town about two hours north-west (?) of the capital. The fiancé of a good friend of mine was having a bucks’ party, except it wasn’t your typical bucks’ party because I was invited (I’m in the bridal party), so was the fiancee, and their respective families (including lots of little kids between 1 and 13 years of age).
We spent time at the beach, where some of them went boating, kayaking, etc; we had plenty of games and activities for all ages; there was a very insightful quiz about the groom-to-be; and his sister had even hired a caterer for a night. I had a great time, and met a lot of really lovely, down-to-earth people with good senses of humour. My kind of people.
Yesterday I went to my usual book store to buy a copy of Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. I’d been reading a copy I borrowed from the library, but, having finished reading it on Saturday night, I felt strongly compelled to buy my own copy because I just knew I needed this book in my own collection.
Sadly, there was nothing but an empty space on the shelf where it might have been, and I left the store empty-handed.
Perhaps it was not meant to be… or perhaps I’ll just go search through other book stores until I find it. Maybe I’ll never re-read it in its entirety, but I feel like there are parts that I’ll most probably like to revisit at some point in my life. If nothing else, I feel like it’ll be comforting to have a copy of my own, easily accessible in my home. Sort of like a salve in a literary first aid kit.
Anyway, as you probably gathered from the above paragraphs, and possibly also from other posts in which I’ve mentioned A Tale for the Time Being, I really, really like this book.
I seriously considered not publishing this post (not publicly, anyway). It contains what some might consider sensitive material. I don’t know if I can handle having that on my conscience. Then again, maybe talking about this could be good for some people. How am I supposed to know? Besides, there’s already so much of everything already on the internet, it’s not like this one little post will make a difference.
I ask only that you do not read this in a negative frame of mind, or don’t read it if you think it might put you in a negative headspace. I’ll tell you straight-up that this post is about suicide.