Tuesday, 27 September 2011
A Fine and Private Place - a book and an anxiety attack, RIP VI reading....
Except I woke up the night that I finished reading the book, in a panic attack. I'd had a dream that my eldest son was going on a trip to Thailand - a gap sort of trip - and I was worried about his job, if it would be waiting when he came back. I woke up at this point and felt terror seize me. I'm going to die and fade away like the ghosts do in A Fine and Private Place! I thought. It's my worst nightmare, it's a fear that I've struggled with for many years while I searched out my spiritual faith. For a moment or two I was frozen, seized with horror because I absolutely dread the idea that we don't exist after death. I had to tell myself it was ok, that it's not what I believe - I believe we continue on in some way after death, that our spirit does come from something and goes somewhere afterward. I will admit that in A Fine and Private Place, how the ghosts talk about how most of the dead simply go to sleep and drift away until nothing of them remains seems peaceful, and then I remember that it's one thing to read it in a book, it's another to contemplate as reality for you and me here.
In a funny kind of way, A Fine and Private Place helped me heal where I still had some work to do around this area. I have had incidents over my life that have shown me that there is a 'me' that goes on, and it was putting this belief to the test with the fear that made me realize that it's ok, that both beliefs can exist. Some people think there isn't anything after death, that this is all, and then there is the long darkness. Some people like me think that there is much more to life than this, that this is one important stage in life, but that the spirit exists beyond and through this, that the universe is spirit and that we do continue on after.
It's funny what reading ghost stories and horror can make one understand about one's self, sometimes!
And despite my waking fear, I really enjoyed A Fine and Private Place. It's sweet and gentle, and filled with unexpected tenderness about life, and wondrous thoughts about how a ghost might want to try to remember what it's like to be alive. It certainly makes me appreciate all I can do just by being here, in this moment, feeling the wind blow, waiting for the rain to come, enjoying the windows open on one of the (probably) last warm evenings of the year. It's harder to warm up to Jonathan Rebeck - I really wanted him to stop being so afraid! - and wanted a little more of the raven, who was very interesting. I really like how Michael and Laura fight to stay ghosts and not just dissipate into nothingness. This is a very interesting ghost story with a philosophical bent, just like a conversation you could have if you found yourself wandering in a cemetary one day. I really like it.
This is another book read for RIP VI. I am over my total of 4 books to read for the challenge, and I have a whole pile of books to read yet! Despite my anxiety, or in spite of it - I don't care, I'm reading horror still!
So how about you, have you discovered any gems yet during this RIP read?
Two great bloggers wrote about horror reading.......
I am thrilled to announce that as well as Emily's wonderful post on why she reads horror, Geraniumcat has also joined in, and posted this last week: her fabulous thoughts on why she reads horror. I am excited that they took my questions and wrote about horror and ghost stories, that's part of what blogging is for me, sharing our thoughts and ideas about why we read, and about what we read. They both wrote thoughtful, serious posts about horror. If you have any thoughts as you go through Carl's challenge, please write about them - I would love to see why you read ghost stories/horror/thrillers, dear Gentle Reader. Or let me know in the comments if you are shy (and a surprising number of us are shy about why we like what we do).