Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.

9.21.2013

A Perfect Cover, an Awesome Audio


The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Written and read by Neil Gaiman

-----

Neil Gaiman is such an exceptionally skilled storyteller. It's hard to know what else to say because that says it all. When you enter one of his stories you become fully immersed in it. You don't stop to dwell on the wonderful language and phrasing, wisdom and insight, plotting and pacing, or purpose and meaning because you're too busy being part of the story and letting it sink into you. You live it.

This story is about a man remembering something from his childhood, an encounter with powers that he has forgotten because it is best forgotten. An encounter that was dark and scary at the same time that it was enchanting and magical. An encounter with powers too big to comprehend. The book is too long to be a short story at the same time that it's too brief to be a proper novel. It's too grounded in the world of a child to be an adult book and too frank about adult concerns to be a children's book. It's not quite any one thing, it just is.

Most of all, it is a pleasure.

-----

I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.

---

I liked myths. They weren't adult stories and they weren't children's stories. They were better than that. They just
were.

---

Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.

---

"Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside. You don't. I don't. People are much more complicated than that. It's true of everybody." . . .

"Oh, monsters are scared," said Lettie. "That's why they're monsters. And as for grown-ups . . . " She stopped talking, rubbed her freckled nose with a finger. Then, "I'm going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world."

---

I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I found joy in the things that made me happy.

---

I was a normal child. Which is to say, I was selfish and I was not entirely convinced of the existence of things that were not me, and I was certain, rock-solid unshakably certain, that I was the most important thing in creation. There was nothing that was more important to me than I was.

---

A story only matters, I suspect, to the extent that the people in the story change.

---

The ocean was back in the pond, and the only knowledge I was left with, as if I had woken from a dream on a summer's day, was that it had not been long ago since I had known everything.

I looked at Lettie in the moonlight. "Is that how it is for you?" I asked.

"Is
what how it is for me?"

"Do you still know everything, all the time?"

She shook her head. She didn't smile. She said, "Be boring, knowing everything. You have to give all that stuff up if you're going to muck about here."

"So you
used to know everything?"

She wrinkled her nose. "Everybody did. I told you. It's nothing special, knowing how things work. And you really do have to give it all up if you want to play."

"To play
what?"

"This," she said. She waved at the house and the sky and the impossible full moon and the skeins and shawls and clusters of bright stars.


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