If you've read a couple of short stories or novels by Neil Gaiman, you may think you know his writing. I've read several, and thought I did. But until you wade into The Ocean at the End of the Lane you haven't a clue to the depths and heights his mind is prone to wander. It is a fairy tale about children, but definitely requires a grown-up reader. Deeply dark and starkly illuminating, it will not allow you ever again to see your world, or yourself, under quite the same sky.
you're not old.” Often, somebody young says it, although sometimes
it is somebody not so young who just wants to deny time. Of course,
I'm old. If I can manage it with some measure of dignity and style,
I'd like to get older yet.
old is not some kind of illness or handicap. It is my crowning achievement. It is who I am. It is the
sum of my becoming. When you insist that I'm not old, you are denying
part of my identity, part of what is me. History informs my moment,
but doesn't rule it. The shorter my future becomes, the more curious
I am about what comes next, and the more intensely I love and embrace
all that is now.
that everything is pleasant right now, but looking back, I see that
it never was. This is the day I am who I am, and I am glad. And
the old man is writing every day. It may not be necessary, or even
desirable that I should write one more book. Five books in five years
is probably adequate. I'll be nearly 77 years old by the time my
latest novel, Slick Rock Creek
is released. A lot of writers are dead or retired at that age.
K Le Guin didn't swear off fiction until she was 87. She is still
writing, has a mind-boggling blog. So maybe I'll get to go out
writing. The males in my clan are usually in the ground by their mid
eighties. But like I say, I'm still writing every day. Not so much
because I want to see my words in print. I've done that, not as often
as some, but often enough that the new has worn off. Often enough to
know that published writing is not necessarily good writing. I'd
rather be good than read, but if I had to choose, I'd also rather be
read than dead.
new hasn't worn off being apprehended by a story, discovering what
happens next, how it all turns out. When I get tired of that, I'll be
tired of life.
My prayer vocabulary is pretty limited. Sorry, Thanks, Wow,and Yes about cover it. Even so, I don't have any illusion that I can tell God something She doesn't already know.
On the other hand, God knows a lot of things that I don't, but desperately need to know. So mostly, in my prayers, I don't talk to God. I just try to be quiet and pay attention.
Most Sundays, I worship with a little gaggle of Episcopalians. We're big at saying prayers at God in church. I try to listen as hard as I talk on those occasions, because God is talking back to us in the silences between our words.