Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Truth and The Lacuna

I was going to write about The Lacuna. I was going to explain how I thought it is a "writer's novel", that it is beautifully crafted in a way that a writer could appreciate. I would probably have outed myself as a Frida Kahlo nut.

I wanted to try and do justice to Barbara Kingsolver's sympathy for her characters, despite their deep flaws. I wanted to celebrate the graceful story-telling, the wry humour, the subtly executed self-referential signposts. If I'd been feeling really clever, I might have drawn parallels to Plutarch, to Shakespeare, to Cavafy, to Yeats... to the delicate extraction of a pivotal moment in history, allowing us to see Great People at their most vulnerable.

This novel has a symmetry, a balance, a neatness that really appeals to me.

But that wouldn't be the truth. Or, it wouldn't be my truth. I am not about balance and neatness today.

Today is about obsession with the heat. It is 30 degrees celcius (86 fahrenheit) inside the house already at 10am. Today is about looking around and only seeing endless To Do lists. Today is about regretting yesterday's relentless quest for control over proceedings which, strangely enough, did NOT result in a seamless transition from soggy unslept Mum to elegantly dressed office maven. No, yesterday was all about me cussing myself for not opening windows overnight, growling at my gentle husband for daring to ask, and getting frustrated with my beautiful baby for waking up before I managed to shower. I was so hung up about the travesty inherent in all those things that I got to the bus stop before realising that I hadn't left anything for my sweet Mum (who was babysitting) to eat for lunch.

So, this morning I was all set to write about being dishevelled and housebound. About my obsession with trying to control the ambient temperature in the house. About trying to control everything.


There is movement. Clouds are blowing over and a cool change is coming. There is renewal. This afternoon, I am reaching a milestone. Seven years of my life is about to be leather-bound and archived into the sum of human knowledge. There are new beginnings. An opportunity to dream big in a safe environment buzzing with fascinating and creative souls. Already a couragous fellow traveller has reached out to share her bliss.

The truth might not be elegant. Or symmetrical. But its beauty is in its imperfection. And the reality that it can change.


  1. thanks for stopping by my blog with your supportive comment and mondo connection! i'm looking forward to our time there, and am glad to already be connected with another creative mama!

  2. Your post brought tears to my eyes before I even got to the lovely, lovely part where you mention your "fellow traveller". Then I practially started bawling! Thank you dear Kat!

    Barbara Kingsolver is one of my writing idols. I can define my life basically as before I read "The Poisonwood Bible" and after! I love your description of La Lacuna and I want to run right out and buy it.

    But your post is textured so beautifully with how our ideas about the way we want things to be and the way that we see beauty & profoundness--collide with real life! I often think that my life would be infinitely more fabulous-seeming if only there was a lovely soundtrack playing in the background!! I imagine people sitting in a theater munching popcorn, chuckling at how I had to drive my teenager to school this morning after he had missed the schoolbus, in my pajamas, because there was no time to shower, or even change. And I'm all disheveled, but still beautiful. And there is a cute song playing throughout said scene ...

    But the truth is I was mad at Timothy (and it wasn't even really his fault--the bus came way early) and I looked horrible. And there was no sweet song. And the day was decidedly not humorous so far!

    So your wise words I will remember ..."The truth might not be elegant. Or symmetrical. But its beauty is in its imperfection. And the reality that it can change."

    Beautiful. Poignant. Inspiring. Hopeful.