Thursday, March 12, 2009

Words, Take Me Away!

Forget bath salts. When I want to be whisked away from reality (as I do this afternoon!), nothing offers a speedier getaway than books--specifically, novels. I enjoy reading nonfiction, too, but when things like dwindling assets, piles of paperwork, an overloaded to-do list (isn't it always?!), and sundry undone-and-impending tasks are pecking at my brain like angry bluejays, it's to fiction that I fly.

At the moment I'm reading Pamela Duncan's Plant Life, and while Laurel Granger's life makes my mine look positively serene (even in my current duress!), the Carolina surroundings soothe me and and the family banter makes me smile. But I'm no Southern snob: Lorna Landvik's Minnesota settings lift my spirits, too. In fact, I hate to see Landvik's novels end; even though her plots are typically contemporary and realistic, they transport me far away from my own reality and into a "happy place" in my brain that is truly divine.

Words have done that for me since I first discovered the joy of the alphabet at age four. There is simply no level of fatigue, despair, or frustration that can't be held at bay by a good tale. Most recently, I've fallen under the spell of old "Gunsmoke" radio shows. Good/evil, black/white, love your horse/punish the gunslinger...what a blissfully simple code of ethics! Makes me wonder in these turbulent times (and would we feel quite so turbulent if we stopped reading and listening to the media?) if we wouldn't all benefit from a daily dose of Fannie Flagg or Carl Hiaasen (now THERE's diversity for you!). I'm thinking we'd sleep better at night if a novelist had the last word instead of a newscaster.


Just a thought.


All I know is I can't WAIT to get home and see what happens next at the plant in Russell...