Mysterious Wolfville and Loud Books
November 18, 2014
So, check this out...
It's raining and I have just bought eggs. I'm wet and not looking forward to the hike home, and so I duck into T.A.N. cafe. -I've not been there more than five or six times over the past half year; been terribly unsocial, so I've been putting in an effort to visit more frequently.
Anyway, today was Cold, Wet and Miserable outside, and Warm, Dry and Friendly inside. Perfect for a coffee shop visit.
Except I'd just gone out for eggs, not to drink coffee. I had no backpack, nothing with me to work on or read or anything. And nobody I knew was in the little cafe to chat with, which makes visiting a coffee shop a little dull. You just sit there sipping coffee with nothing to do. And so...
There's a little collection of magazines and books by the window. -Kind of like the collection you'd see in a doctor's office, except not wilting into that dog-eared variety of despair ancient "TIME" Magazines exhibit. They had cooler stuff. Among the offerings was this book, (pictured). "Under Heaven" by Guy Gavriel Kay.
Big, recent title, famous Canadian author. Never read any of his work. Time to reverse this embarrassing little fact.
The book is good! Really! It *spoke* to me. -And this is a little grim, but stick with me: It starts off with the story of a hermit living deep in a desolate part of 9th Dynasty Imperial China, working in isolation every day to dig graves in order to bury the bones of dead soldiers who had died in a monumental battle years earlier. A mad, impossible task, (40,000 men died in that particular war), but one he felt a deep connection with at least chipping at. "Just because you can never finish, do you never start?"
The two empires view his activity with a cautious respect; he is burying the dead of both sides with no concern for nationality, and nobody else is brave enough to venture among the dead to put them to rest. China fears the spirit world. When the story begins, he has been out there for a couple of years and is now at the tail end of his period of isolation; the world is crashing in. It is time to launch back into the high energy of the civilized world and the next phase of his life. He has earned a kind of monastic wisdom and calm power. Digging the frozen northern earth has made him strong, but there are assassins and lovers and friends and money and power waiting to drown him upon his return. Yikes! That's the part I just got to. I feel like that's been my life and that the changes coming are similar in scope.
(My finger is hovering over the "Send" button on a big project which has taken two freakin' years of work to compile. And just two days ago, I had, out of the blue, a Japanese publisher express interest in re-printing some of my books. I've not yet responded to them. Thinking...)
So I'm engrossed in this story. After two hours and a half inch of newsprint deep into the volume, it's time to go home. Also, I realize that I'm going to be stealing the coffee shop copy of Kay's book. -I've had enough of the Stardrop and Thieves & Kings GN's I put in coffee shops walk home with people in a similar manner, so I figure I'm owed a book or two. (I'll bring it back when I'm done, I swear.)
Anyway... here's the point to this story:
I didn't see it until I got home to crack open my stolen booty for another chapter, that somebody had written my name on the first page.
Apparently, this book really *was* meant for me.
Also, it's why I believe in the power of mysterious, deep psychological and material connections moving unseen through life, and through this town in particular.
Every day something like this happens, but this one stood out a bit more than usual. Figured I'd share.