Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Sex? It’s a pity…


I've recently finished reading a free e-book that I thought was going to be a relaxing read about a woman who reinvents herself after the breakup of her marriage and who somehow gets mixed up in solving a murder (not the cheating ex-husband’s I should add) However, I was totally thrown out of the story by the sex scenes which peppered the action. Now, I don't have anything against sex scenes but these had a vibe that they had been dropped in just for the spice. I guess they were intended to be erotic but I found them comedic. I spent so much time laughing because I couldn’t buy that characters, who had known each other for a few minutes could have sex so great that she has nine – yep, count ’em, NINE - orgasms the first time they have at it! (Just to ratchet up the inadequacy meter for the normal population) The scenes did nothing to progress the story, nor gave me any additional reasons to care what happened to the characters. In fact she’d become such a bleater that the further I got into the book the more I hoped she would be the next murder victim. No such luck. To make matters worse, I figured out the killer’s identity as soon as he appeared on the page. The last chapter was an info dump that tied up all the loose ends via a conversation of assorted characters while the new lovers looked adoringly into each others eyes. Kill me, kill me now! I'm still trying to figure out why I persevered with reading it. Maybe being a freebie, I figured I shouldn’t whine. Maybe I simply hoped it would get better. Maybe I wanted to give the writer the benefit of the doubt.But there’s something I learned: good sex in a novel isn’t just in the writhing, it’s in the writing. Otherwise celibacy from the page is a good option. 

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Winter lessons in letting go


I've never thought of myself as a ‘winter person’. Don't like the cold. Don't like the grey. Don't like the darkness. It exacerbates my pain. I experience winter as a season of grief. A heavy time, where the warmth of other seasons seems lost forever. But this winter I have a new little buddy, a wee bird who is teaching me a lesson in letting go of all that I perceive as cold and getting some warmth back into my life, regardless of the season. 

The bird often sits in the bare branches of the elm tree in the backyard. I think it sad that the tree has lost all its beautiful leaves but I've noticed that the bird takes advantage of its nakedness. She sits at the very top having the best view of everything. There are no leaves to obscure her range of sight. She is in a good position to see everything that is going on. I suspect she doesn't grieve the end of the youthful spring, the passing of summer's warmth, the promise of harvest in the autumn gone. To the bird, winter is not like a death. She does not feel the need to withdraw and wait impatiently until the seasons turn again. She seems to enjoy the crisp air. She sings to the sky despite its grey undercoat.

I’ve learned from her. It occurs to me that one of the things a period (be it a season or a moment) of winter does in my life is to lay everything bare so that I could examine how I’ve been living, thinking and feeling. In resting in the quietness of the stripped back season, I can look out to new horizons. I have a chance to reflect and brave my fear of all that I experience as cold and desolate. Change is not easy at the best of times but there is a time to let things lie; to accept the solitude and in it, be at peace with the lessons that winter brings. And despite it all, like the wise little bird, I can still sing to the sky.