TURNING THE PAGE OR CLOSING THE BOOK?
Dee Chadwick
20 Feb 2022
I wonder what we think of the book of our lives? Each page is important, no matter how seemingly trivial, as it makes us the person that we are today and therefore all adds to what is happening on the current page.

MY CONCEPT OF BOOKS?

I love books.

Old leather bound books, well, they give me the pleasure of the feel of the covers, and an admiration of the skills that went into making them. This led me to attending a leather book binding course many years ago, with this serving to deepen my admiration. Of course, there were some giggles along the way, especially when I decided to continue with the craft and needed to stock up on tools. I thought I would begin with a browse through Yellow Pages (as pre internet and ebay days) – looking under book makers!! Some of you are leaping ahead of me here I am sure, but I was surprised at how many were listed, then the penny dropped with a huge kerching why so many were called Ladbrokes! Ddddrrr. Not to be beaten, I did track down some second hand lettering tools, from a retiring book BINDER.

Non-fiction books are admired for the huge amounts of information they have, some of which I hope will take up permanent residence nestled in amongst my grey cells. On occasion, I sort of wish that there was a special transference of information process. This would automatically happen as, when I open the package from Amazon or walk over my door step with my newly acquired purchase, the wisdom of the printed words would miraculously zip up into my brain! I just have to live in the hope that the author imparts their depth of knowledge in a way that makes it accessible for me, without too much of a struggle.

I recall the many, many hours spent in libraries ploughing through books and making notes – in the days well before photo copiers made this process so much easier! It didn’t lessen my admiration when faced with rows and rows, racks and racks of books that people had poured their hearts and souls into. All of that knowledge - and I would  only absorb such a minute part of it. At least I tried and still try to learn new things – a vital part of being a human as far as I am concerned.

As for fiction books, sadly, I now often read these on my tablet as I struggle with reading for any extended periods of time due to cataracts. Yes, I still enjoy the content but not as much as if cuddling a ‘real’ book and physically turning and feeling the pages.

REAL BOOKS

What of these real books? I love the picture I have included, as, for me, that is a story book, a novel. It paints pictures with words, which convert to a visual picture in my mind. This is probably why I don’t rattle through a novel at a great rate of knots, preferring to soak in the language and allow those pictures to develop. It also explains why I am often disappointed when a novel I have read is transformed for the television or the cinema. It becomes a case of - that’s not how it should look; that family really would not have dressed like that. Of course, for me, MY version is the way it ought to be!

My love of words and how we use them led me to endeavour to share this with the children that I taught.  They were encouraged to use all of their senses when writing and to listen to pieces that I read with their eyes closed to enable their imagination to flow beyond the confines of the classroom. Maybe I should listen to more audio books!

MY LIFE IN BOOK FORM

I see there being three books of my life as there are three very distinct threads which neatly divide into separate entities. That is not to include the book that I actually DID write but never took further. One of these days I will get out the memory stick, take a deep breath and re-read it!

So the three areas of my life – my single life; my married life; my second time around single life.  I cannot see there being a fourth volume, so the third will, in all likelihood,simply gradually wind down, unless I am caught up in a mega dramatic, unforeseen, unexpected finale. Though I guess, in that case, I wouldn’t be around to complete the work, unless in the form of a ghost writer (sorry but that was irresistible!!).

WHAT IF YOU SIMPLY KEEP TURNING THE PAGES?

This happens with some people. Their life becomes a book of chapters which mirror those that have gone before.  Patterns of behaviour are repeated and/or life seemingly is a routine regulated by little else than work and working.

This may be enforced through being caught up in the poverty trap of survival; surviving each day with sufficient food to feed the family and maintain some sort of a shelter over their heads.  My mind is taken back to the past ‘It’s Not Fair’ blog   and to me wondering what the pages of the child in the picture’s book would be like. Each day a simple basic fight for survival. I wonder where play and having fun fits into their book?

For others, the sameness of old age lived without nearby family who care, or friends popping in for a cuppa and a chat. These pages feel sort of grey to me. Grey, lonely and unchanging, with no bright pictures leaping from the pages. Instead, the pages seemingly meld one into another, especially during our periods of lockdown for COVID. Times which some of us have been struggling to escape from as they have become our norm – and we, as well as the pages have become grey and often unseen, un-thought of.

CLOSING THE BOOK

I hate anything to beat me, but I have to admit that they sometimes do – it’s called life and probably not always making the best of choices. It certainly can happen with books.  There are some that I have tried to read, but in the end simply decided that, as I was getting neither information nor pleasure from the reading, that enough was enough. End of, close book, set aside and move on.

What though, if it was the book of your life of which you had had enough? You have the choices – to change, to turn to a new chapter as a new beginning, either making small, subtle changes or even deciding to make larger ones – or to continue in the same unsatisfactory way, ploughing without enjoyment or satisfaction.

Personally, I have begun new chapters on several occasions in order to get me out of a thread of words and ways that was leading inexorably downhill. The easier choice would have been to plod on, but the beginning of a new chapter was a much more positive, though often risky step to take, as there can be doubt about where this chapter will lead. Better to have this doubt – but wait, let’s put a spin on that dreadful negative word – and say interest, excitement, sense of adventure about the pages still so be written. This is what a good fiction author would do through changes of tack, unexpected spins in the plot. They keep us interested and wanting to know more details, so why not allow ‘real life’ to reflect this?

Just as an author will plan out the forthcoming chapters, it’s a positive step to do the same in life. Sort out a few goals, prioritise, and begin working your way towards them making the journey a positive one. OK, as in any good novel, there will be slips ups, hiccups along the way. All part of a good story, with the hero picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, hopefully learning from what has happened and moving onwards and upwards.

Life isn’t a fairy tale with you a handsome prince or a pretty princess though we may, at times, have day dreams along these lines. So long as such trips into make believe are only fleeting, no problem! For the vast majority of us, life is about the nitty gritty of day to day stuff that has to be done, in order to allow the occasional burst of excitement or whatever you would prefer. It’s how you view this daily stuff that makes the difference. If you look upon it as a day of drudgery ahead, a day of being bored, then it will be a day wasted, and we don’t have a never ending supply of chapters waiting to be written. There is interest, pleasure even in the most simple of tasks which most of us ignore. Finding this pleasure can take place through what I have mentioned in other blogs – the use of Mindfulness to allow us to smell the roses along the way of life. Such details are what would add interest, piquancy to a novel.  The description behind and around the thread of the story line that enables us to fill in the background but also encourages us to use our imagination to add to this with further detail. Even the most thrilling of thrillers, the most adventurous of adventures include such essential detail. Add these details to the page of your day and it will support you in making that page a much more interesting, positive one as you go through it and as you reflect back on it.

WHAT OF THE FINAL CHAPTERS?

I used to have a friend who always insisted on turning to the last couple of pages of a novel to find out how it ended before she began reading at the beginning. I wonder how she, or others would feel about knowing what the ending of their personal book had in store for them?  Would she want to know?

For some, this is their reality; if given the prognosis of only a few months to live due to a terminal illness.  There remain choices - wanting to have the information of an estimated time of arrival at that final page, in order to arrange affairs, tick some things off to-do lists, say good byes.  The other camp, well they would prefer to remain ignorant of the number of pages remaining and accept what life brings to them.

FINISHNG THIS CHAPTER

I am however ending my almost 6 years of blogging and podcasting with huge thanks to those who have contributed pieces, or fired my imagination with ideas. I have to say that I am proud of what has been achieved; I thank those who have taken the time to read or have listened to my offerings. The blogs will remain on my web site and who knows I may still feel drawn to add a few more paragraphs.

Whilst closing this chapter, I am beginning a new venture. I am taking to vlogging as this won’t be as demanding of time as the writing has been. Some will be home based, but I hope to also wander as I wonder – and that’s another previous blog, sometimes accompanied by a companion to add to the dialogue. They will be on my YouTube channel – another area to be investigated, experimented with and no doubt mumbled at! BUT – I CAN DO IT. I am on another steep learning curve. So here’s to que sera sera as my new chapter slots in before ‘THE END’ of this particular book in the library of my life is reached.

I would love you to join me once I get things up and running! I will put a post on my blog page to let you know.

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Comments

So the end of this chapter, Dee. Well done for all you have achieved. And very best wishes for the next chapter. I think you are very brave. I cope with all this technology as far as I have to, but I don’t find it intuitive. All the best - look forward to see them.
Thank you so much Alwyn - you will probably hear my brain creaking from sorting out the best ways to record the vlogs. i do want to make some 'outside broadcasts' - so long as I don't trip up as I focus on what I am saying/looking at the camera rather than where I am putting my feet. So long as I don't end up in a heap, will be ok! D

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