I'm reading quite a lot at the moment. A lot of it is re-reading but some of it is new. It helps me feel that I am not wasting time and feel more connected with the world. As I read though, sometimes something happens beyond the pages.
Patti Smith. She turns up in the pages of Viv Albertine's Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys a memoir of living dangerously through Punk and finding herself again years later reconnecting with her guitar. At one point Patti shows up and shows her up. By being there, being herself and truer to anything Viv feels she has ever been able to achieve. It's a turning point in her life and it makes me grin - not only because I love Patti Smith but because earlier in the book I was groaning that Patti Smith could have been a light for this raging girl who kept banging on about how there were "no female guitarists" and "no girls in bands." Damn straight there was. It's fitting that recognising that kick started Viv's need to make art.
Patti is all about Art.
I'd been kicking myself I didn't buy the paperback M Train when I was in Melbourne because it's not out here in the UK til at least June. So I re-read Just Kids (which I love). This time I fall a bit into Patti's music too. Because the night becomes the soundtrack to the turning of winter into spring. My housemate is leaving and in the week before she is gone she buys me it and I find M Train is waiting for me on the stairs. Knowing I would never source one online she gives me a gift I read on the tube back from Heathrow. This older Patti is a disenchanted delight. Her love of murder mysteries affirms my own.
I read a few chapters and then lose the darn thing, somewhere in my room. I know it's around but it isn't anywhere on the surface and considering I lose my wallet, then have two weeks temping it doesn't seem important to find. Like its author M Train will come to me when needed.
So I read Good Omens which reconnects me with laughter and then I take up The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Man, Murakami is such a mind-blowing writer. Re-reading this book is even weirder as rather than just going with it I find myself questioning. Questioning especially the women in this book and why they are all beautiful vessels for Mr. Wind-Up-Bird or other men and are never quite their own person. I read it during my commute and the violence makes me feel sick and scared for what we have become. I resurface though like the narrator as if a cat has returned to me and I am waiting for my love. Ultimately my brain reconciles the world and the words into something I can carry forward without falling down a well to find an answer.
I try not to twitch at the sound of the spring birds calling.
A few days after I finish The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle I find M Train. It's fallen down the back of my bed into a small crack where I had not thought to look. I return to a different world and let Patti tell of her search to reconnect with the world. In this search she picks up Murakami and completely immerses herself in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. The bird, the house with the well - all the spaced out mindlessness her depression becomes focused on what happened to the house and on making connecting the bird to her own internal reality. The journey she has with these words and this book takes her to Japan, it leads her to buying a new house and it ultimately releases her into a future. Having just finished this book myself gave an incredible depth to reading another's experience of the same words and processing the same story. Accidentally sandwiching the two books gave a much more interesting reading of both.
I find it difficult to believe in fate. To believe in things that are meant to be, but a little part of me would like to think a bit more like Patti. A bit more that some things happen for a reason and the way and order that it happens can give new meaning to life. That we can make our own paths in our own ways to find our ownselves.
In the meantime I'm going to try and listen to the words.