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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Just Some Thoughts

Assalammualaikum.
My holiday is coming to an end, urrggh...
Starting from next week, I'll have to go to hospital every weekdays, to fulfil the syllabus requirement and also to get my own scoops of experience. =)
Although the classes will only be officially starting 3 weeks from now, I already have to bid goodbye to those free weekdays I had.

I had more than 10 books to be read for this holiday, but I've managed to finish only 2! =.="
The latest book was The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards.
Although the book has a very slow moving plot, it also comes with wonderful descriptions of the atmosphere, the settings and the emotions.





Let me just type out a paragraph of the novel,
But then he noticed the error, the dull truth rising up and fitting just where he'd expected it, in that hollow place just below his ribs: the name on the letter was not his. The address was right, and every other detail from his date of birth to his social security number - all these were correct. And his first two names, David for his father and Henry for his grandfather, those were fine as well, typed precisely by a secretary who had perhaps been interrupted by a phone call, by a visitor. Or maybe it was only the lovely spring air that made her look up from her work, dreaming herself into the evening, her fiance there with flowers in his hands and her own heart trembling like a leaf. Then a door slammed. Footsteps sounded, her boss. She started, drew herself together and back into the present. Blinking, she hit the return carriage and went back to work.

David Henry she had typed already, correctly.
But his last name, McCallister, had been lost.
He had never told anyone.........................
Got what I meant? The author even described how the typist came to write the main character's name wrongly, and how the mistake was carried on till the last breath of Dr David Henry. And she did it so beautifully, it didn't bore me at all, it fascinated me instead.

This story was about Dr David Henry, who was forced to deliver his own wife's twin in a snowy night in 1964.
The first baby was a healthy boy, but the second one was a girl with Down's Syndrome. As a doctor himself, he spotted the classical Mongoloid features at once and knew the prognosis of that girl; flaccid muscle tone, delayed growth and mental development, possible heart complications, early death. And so he decided to send that baby away, to a centre where at those time all the other kids with the same syndrome are sent to.
For him, he was trying to save his wife from the grief of rearing a retarded child, what more with the high possibility of heart defects. And so he told his wife that their daughter had died, as a blue baby.
And he had to live with that dark secret of giving their daughter away for the rest of his life, tearing apart his family, affecting his wife and the growth of their normal son.

It was no doubt a heart-wrenching story but I was gripped to it even from the very first chapter.
It may be because the main character was a doctor, that made me felt somewhat attached to him.
Or maybe the character of Dr David Henry resembled so much of someone I know, but yet at the same time was different from him in a lot other ways.

I often found myself absorbed in the stories I read. It's fascinating to know that there are lots of stories out there, and even though all these novels I read were written by someone, an author who made themselves money while writing, it certainly is not impossible to have someone who really have that  kind of life.
There are hundreds, thousands, millions of people out there.
We would never know if there is a Dr David Henry living out there, or Kezia St Martin from Passion's Promise by Danielle Steel or even Emma Corrigan from Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella.

And it was often hard for me to not bring the story into real life.
Sometimes, I even grieved for the death of one of the characters, the grief of the people in the story, or regretting the mistakes the character in the story did, for days or even a considerably longer period after finishing the story.
And I know this does not happen only to me, but to every passionate readers, and even actors and actresses of emotional movies, as proved in one of question asked in an interview with Kim Edwards, the author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter.

Q: The Memory Keeper's Daughter, while ultimately redemptive and hopeful, reveals much of the dark side of the human experience. Actors often talk about how working on a very painful role can affect their psyche; others speak of being simply able to let it go and not have the work affect their daily lives. As a writer, how does working on such a heart-wrenching story affect your own state of mind? When you stop writing, are you able to let it go?
See, even writers might find it hard to let the story go after writing it.
And that explained why I kept thinking of what Dr David Henry did wrong, and what was the consequences of him giving his daughter away; it made him live in guilt. He can't face his wife and his son, and his secret created his wife's.

And most of the time I found myself equating the people I know in real life with the characters, just so I can understand why did these people in real life acted the way they did. Lucas John in Passion's Promise served years in prison and it turned him into a fighter, someone who had gone through the worst days in his life, and a bitter, secretive person too. And whenever I came across anyone, whom I think had gone through awfully bad times, I remembered Lucas John and wondered if this same person I met would act like how Lucas John acted; bitter, closed up, accepted the way his life was but in the same time longing for a normal life.

Sometimes I think I'm living in a fantasy world, a world of stories and novels where everyone knows exactly what they are doing. And sometimes, tried to react to an issue like how the characters reacted; building my personality based on the novel. And I couldn't find anything wrong with it. I mean, most of the stories are logical, they might be people like that in this planet, we'll never know. Very rarely, the stories are fantasies eg the Twilight Saga where Edward Cullen, the handsome vampire do not live in this world, and there are no Bella Swan torn in between a human-wolf and a vampire but I know, there certainly are one girl out there, whose parents have divorced and she moved to live her father when her mother has a new boyfriend. Though she might not meet a new classmate as mysterious and cool as Edward, neither having an old friend as warm and pleasant as Jacob, she faces just the very same conflict Bella is facing, the divorce of parents and having to move into a state she really hates.

At 14, I did not want to drive at all. I said I prefer taking public transport EVERYWHERE I go, it was safer for me. I had too many experience of car accidents with my mum (thank God those were all minor accidents). But at 19, I was driving everyday to and from campus and almost everywhere I go, and I only take public transport when I do not know where to park eg when I go KLCC, as the parking is so so sooo expensive.

So now at 20, I'd say life is just like a novel. There are a lot of teachings in a novel where one can learn from, and not repeating the same mistake. There are also lots of examples one can follow in novels, like Aisha in Ayat-Ayat Cinta is a good example of a Muslim lady, facing the cruelty of the false accusation towards her husband.
And I'm glad I like to read, because it teaches me how to live in this world.
But who knows, a decade from now I might say novels are just fantasies, written by people who just want to earn their livings by putting up an imaginary lives which most people yearn for but will never happen in reality.

With this, I end this post.

p/s: I have a lot more to say, but can't seem to put them in words. And I think this post is already long enough. =p

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