Jump to content, Jump to navigation.

Amber Paulen

Literary Fireworks

In my last post on Simone de Beauvoir’s Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter I claimed to no longer need “literary fireworks.” Since then I’ve been wondering, what did I mean? Because, I think, it’s not that I don’t need them, but that I rarely fall victim to the: KA-POW! RAT-A-TAT-TA-TA-TA! POW! PAH! that deluged me at certain points of my life as I read certain books and authors. I still need them, but they are mysteriously absent, or farther afield than I can reach.

The literary fireworks of my past were a paroxysm of a brilliant transparency that occurred between the soul of a writer, his/her book and myself. We became each other and the words I read were my own. It was a fever, a flush, a fire in which I ceased to be, but continued to burn. The results of that fervency have never left me and have been embodied by the books that touched me the deepest. These books will always be bonded to me as I am so much indebted to them. It’s a fever that cannot be replicated or induced.

But, I wonder, how much of the fireworks were sparked by that time in my life when I was as absorbent and open as a sea sponge—everything was possible and I was determined to succeed unscathed. Because now, the direction I began on with such willfulness has become a steady road I willfully will not wander from; it has worked out, more or less, I write, with more or less success; I have my road that I’m somewhere along, but not at the very beginning anymore. Yes, I know my literary fireworks were inspired by the energy I used to throw myself head-first and drowning at writing, as they were also inspired by youth.

Now where are they? Am I getting older, unable to work up to the climaxes of an unknown existence; have I simply stored up more texts in my head that crowd in, clambering for attention, for breathing space. Because it’s not that I don’t get worked up or passionate or excited about books, I do, very much, but it’s without that edge, those all-or-nothing flames anymore. But anyway? Do I want them? They tend to blur the book into an orgy of quotes, thoughts, ideals. With a clearer view, do I apprehend more?

Having this site and writing about the books I read has helped a great deal in coming to a brief understanding of the worlds that pass through my mind on strings of words. It has helped thresh my thoughts into a semblance of something coherent that I can attempt to build into another world. But writing—not only on this site or about books—has in a way dampened the very passion that got me writing in the first place: being full of the flame, the Holy Spirit that is passed on in super-excellent books. Literary fireworks are the type of contradiction where I can say, I miss them as much as I don’t.


·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·   ·