Just five hours after a horrendous dental procedure and three hours after the loss of my beloved 2015 diary, I sought solace in a bit of Facebook therapy and I noticed that I was one friend down. I had been unfriended.
Say what you will, but it is not many people who lose a tooth (OK, a part of a tooth), a diary and a friend all in the space of a mere five hours. I did what any teenager would do: I trawled the list of remaining die-hards (still bravely hanging in there in my hour of need, thanks guys), in order to work out who had dumped me. My adolescent self and my aging self forged new bonds. It was not pretty.
I needed help, but would there be books on topics as diverse as social networking, teeth and lost diaries? Amazingly enough, the answer is Yes and right now I will share this bounty with you (and my remaining 126 Facebook friends!)
Being unfriended, if it’s done nothing else, has got me to read my first ever Young Adult book, Unfriended by Rachel Vail. I have resisted YA fiction despite the recommendations of some truly lovely colleagues who swear that it is better than adult fiction. Let’s just say I started reading it as an unbeliever and ended up, after 282 silly pages, yearning to be beaten over the head by a superficiality of adolescents armed with selfie sticks. I think we can safely say that the YA boat has sailed for me. Lesson learned.
If it is true that every bad day has a silver lining then The Story of My Teeth was my bookish equivalent. It is a joyful romp of a read by Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli (named as one of the 20 best Mexican writers under 40), in which Gustavo Sanchez extracts and sells all his teeth at auctions, spinning improbable stories about them. This is a scam that requires talents like this:
He can imitate Janis Joplin after two rums, he can interpret Chinese fortune cookies, he can stand an egg upright on a table, and he can float on his back.
I feel better already!
Still I yearned for my lost diary. Was there a suitable read to help me with my loss? The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal looked promising to me. The discovery of a long lost journal rescued from a dumpster in New York brings to life the story of the writer, Florence Wolfson: an extraordinary woman from a glamorous, forgotten time. I fantasise that my beloved diary will share a similar fate and the full fascination of the life of a Network Library Assistant will finally be revealed in all its glory!
All in all these three reads were therapeutic. Next time you are a hit by a string of seemingly unrelated crises, have faith. There will a book or three for you!
You haven’t received any ransom demands for your beloved diary yet then Roberta?
No, it has not surfaced. I have had to make a new one, in May, it felt quite surreal!
This was such a thrill reading about everything lost… and the teenage/older dichotomy… quite biblical in that we are becoming “a children” again. I quite like it, because it means the creative self can just be: I want to be “a children” under the age of 5. As for your diary, I’m just so curious what the “new owner” is thinking. Maybe he/she is reveling in those beautiful shapes and colours…
I don’t know what they are making of it, it is full of info about me, my little life and magpie-like things that have caught my attention. I’ve remade it. That felt weird -in May, but at least I have my security blanket back!
A superficiality of adolescents? Oh, what a wonderful new coinage, Roberta! Way up there with “a murder of crows”. It sounds as though your reading has inspired you to emerge phoenix-like from the ashes of your horrible experiences. You certainly have a gift for self-reinvention.
I have been influenced by reading Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield where, throughout the book, many references are made to the large number of collective nouns for rooks. I am magpie-like in that way!
And as smart as a fox – or indeed a skulk of foxes!
At least you know Roberta, that the glass, which is either half-full or half-empty, is actually refillable! Like the interesting way you make wine out of sour grapes!