Last week, (on Monday 11th November to be precise) I was
surfing Pinterest, as is my wont using Pinterest for important research to help fill the 12 Books Facebook Page with kickass content, when I came across this.
As a child of the internet age I am conditioned to follow instructions of this nature, particularly when presented in meme format – so that is what I did. The nearest book was The Venom Business by Michael Crichton, sitting on the kitchen table because my boyfriend had received a copy to review for Den of Geek. The sentence read, ‘In the sterile, glass-and-steel confines of Orly Airport, he talked with the customs officer.’
Now, I was a little bit miffed, because I didn’t feel like that described my life at all. Not literally, not metaphorically, not even in the manner of an amusing non sequitur. I’m not in a glass-and-steel case of emotion, and I don’t feel like I’m banging my head against the customs officer of life who is intent of thwarting my trip to the unknown. So on Tuesday, I tried again.
This time the nearest book was Railsea by China Miéville, on account of I was reading it. The sentence that now allegedly described my life was, ‘the earth rampart rose & growled & cracked & within, Sham could see a huge lump of saggy skin, a mole-rat back twice the size of any other.’
Once more I felt hard pressed to work out how this applied. I haven’t spent any time looking down onto the saggy back of my worst fear lately, I’ve been much too busy. Time for another go.
On Wednesday I picked up the book that my brother was reading, because I like to steal. The book was Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris – surely this would be a winner?
“I mean, come on, Dad,” Lisa said. “Wake up.”
That’ll be a no, then.
Still, I don’t give up easily, and on Thursday night the book closest to me other than Railsea was the one my aforementioned other half has on the go – volume 4 of Doom Patrol, Musclebound, by Grant Morrison. That already sounds like me! I’m way muscley! And sure enough the first line on page 45 is… ‘You seem to be able to look right through the flesh and see the bones underneath.’
In the book this is happening literally – the character is using X-Ray Specs. I suppose I could try and twist it into a reference to my super high levels of empathy, or the way I really get to the heart of my characters – but let’s be honest, my recent output has mostly been inspired by the Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator. I don’t cut to the core of anything.
Friday night, and I noticed my kindle nestling in the corner of the settee. The books on there are ordered by most recent first, so the top was the last of three I downloaded based on a tweet I saw. I’m fairly suggestible that way. Anyway the book was Undone by Cat Clarke and, being on kindle, there weren’t any page numbers. Still, I persevered by counting 45 page turning clicks – it seemed the least I could do in order to find the line that defined me. Which was: ‘Every word was a needle pricking at my heart.’
Because I haven’t read the book yet, I have no idea what words are being referred to here. I’ve been there, probably – I was a teenager once. But these days the harsh words of others bounce off me and into late night conversation sprinkled with gin, to be later compressed and squeezed into a box and pushed right down inside so I never speak of them again.
Saturday took me to the depths of despair – would I never turn to a page 45 and find a perfect line encapsulating my life? It was with hands a-tremblin’ I opened the most recent book leant to me by my mother, Various Pets Alive and Dead by Marina Lewycka. There I read the immortal words: ‘The two things are connected, because Molly Mackie – a pretty red haired girl whom Serge dated once – is a dancer in a small grant funded troupe.’
On Sunday, I decided that memes can get lost.
Til next time…