Saturday, July 19, 2014

The delight of reading a good book

I have just come back from spending a happy half-hour in one of my favourite coffee shops reading a book, and, luckily, a good book, too.  As I walked back home I pondered on what it is about the writing of a book which turns its words into something so meaningful that they can make me forget where I am, and can feel myself transported to some hidden place within me which nourishes my deepest feelings.

In my university days, I did a lot of thinking and writing about just this – what makes one book an accumulation of clichés which teach me nothing new about life, and another, as this book today did, helps me to a greater understanding of the mysteries of life?  Perhaps the nearest we can get to an answer is by saying that in some way what is written expresses something which we regard as universally true about the human condition.  Each new thought then adds something to our understanding of human beings.

So my brief half-hour in the company of a German writer, Martin Suter, who I have just been introduced to, has made me see the world with slightly different eyes, subtly shifting my perspective.  And the same is also, of course, true of creative painters, sculptors, playwrights or poets.  Or even, as happened yesterday, of film directors, as I watched a film I had seen before, Strictly Ballroom, but for the first time on a large cinema screen with a roomful of people all as entranced as I was, entranced enough to burst into applause as the lights went up at the end.

How many new insights into life those with creative eyes continue to reveal to us!  And the more I understand about human life, the more this feeds into my work as acupuncturist with my patients.  So although some people may think that my half-hour this morning reading over my cup of coffee might seem to be just wasting time, I see it as something quite different – as helping to satisfy my curiosity about the nature of things.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Nora,
    I just read this blog of yours and it resonated with my reading of Susan Sontag's diaries today.
    She writes:
    "The greatest art seems secreted, not constructed."
    And also:
    "A sense of the inevitability of style - the sense that the artist had no alternatives, so wholly centered is he IN his style."
    And finally:
    "All great art contains at its center contemplation, a dynamic contemplation."
    Love from Steffi (Sachsenmaier)