Last week I finished the novel titled The Art of Fielding. It’s quite a long book and was somewhat hard to get into at the beginning, but by the time I hit my stride around page 300 I couldn’t stop myself from devouring the rest. The story speaks from the point of view of a handful of different characters so you’re getting insight into each of their thoughts. The baseline of the story always falls back to baseball (baseline, baseball, pun fully intended). I love baseball. I grew up with baseball and softball and it’s a language I’m quite fluent in. One of the main characters is a shortstop who struggles with the pressure of major league scouts and ultimately, failing in what he believes is his only life path. I kept seeing a lot of my younger self in the character which first terrified me, but then helped me come to terms with my past and see it in a new light.
But what really got me going around page 300 of the novel was the theme of speaking your truth – letting your words fly. If you’re not going to speak your truth, no one else is going to either. So either you do it, or you don’t, it’s as simple as that.
I’ve come to learn that there is a time and place to let certain words fly vocally. It’s an artform in itself to be able to read and play off of other people’s body language, but when you’re by yourself and just letting thoughts run through your head and writing them down, you can cut loose and let anything go. That’s why I love writing. I can say whatever I want, whenever I want and no one’s telling me what to do. Because they are my words, and they are my truth.
That’s another thing I’m going to work on this year – speaking my truth and being more confident about it.
Here is one of my favorite quotes from The Art of Fielding – let it fly.
“What would he say to her, if he was going to speak truly? He didn’t know. Talking was like throwing a baseball. You couldn’t plan it out beforehand. You just had to let go and see what happened. You had to throw out words without knowing whether anyone woud catch them — you had to throw out words you knew no one would catch. You had to send your words out where they weren’t yours anymore. It felt better to talk with a ball in your hand, it felt better to let the ball do the talking. But the world, the nonbaseball world, the world of love and sex and jobs and friends, was made of words.”
Do you ever read a book or a short story or a piece of prose or really just anything that has words in a consecutive paragraph, and before you even realize it, you’ve fallen madly in love with the character on the page? That happens to me a lot. Like a lot a lot. I always seem to fall in love with the characters that are incredibly flawed or don’t find the light or end up getting killed off at the end – it’s quite tragic actually.
When my favorite character does get killed off (which nearly always happens) I let out an audible gasp, have to re-read the page about seven more times to make sure I wasn’t reading the words incorrectly, go through a denial phase convinced that they will somehow be revived before the novels end and then finally have a grieving period for said character. Because a part of me, however small or large, did completely, intensely and recklessly fall in love with them somewhere between pages 57 and 463. Then I am left to sit on the couch with the book held against my chest, half in shock and half brewing with anger that the author could do such a wretched thing to me in such a fragile state when I so willingly let myself get pulled into his or her story. I so willingly let myself love this character, this voice, that spoke to me through four or five hundred pages.
But that’s why I love reading. I love getting so lost in a story that you actually feel when something happens to a character. Something moves you so much that you have no choice but to have your emotions play out in real-time as your eyes move over the words on the page. Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve always loved reading. My dad would take me to the Borders that was an hour away just so I could get a new haul of books. I would walk through the aisles and take my sweet time, moseying up and down, looking at all the pretty spines of the books and trying to carry as many as my arms could hold.
Reading gives you new pictures to conjure up in your head when sometimes the real world just isn’t doing it for you that day. It gives you a mini escape into someone else’s world, even if just for a little while. The words on the page can make you feel angry or sad or loved or understood or connected or all of the above all at once. That’s why I love books. That’s why I fall in love completely, intensely and recklessly in love with characters and their stories.
The Divergent series. I may or may not have burned through Divergent in 3 days and then burned through the second book, Insurgent, in one day and maybe bought the third book, Allegiant, late last night and already read half of it.
Just slightly obsessed.
The rest of the weekend consisted of hanging out with friends, going to the Rose Bowl flea and watching the Golden Globes. I got two more luggage pieces for my makeshift nightstand at the flea market along with four new vinyls that I am in love with. Now the only thing I still need to find is some sort of storage piece for all of my shoes.
Here’s the Divergent trailer if you haven’t seen it already. And if you haven’t read the books, you should because they are AWESOME.