So here’s how my holiday week went:
I got Turtles All the Way Down by John Green for Christmas. It’s just as good as I expected it to be.
This week I also finished the rough draft of a novelette I’ve been working on, and I announced that to my family at a Christmas party on Saturday.
At that Christmas party, I must have eaten something that didn’t agree with me, because I spent Saturday night depositing everything I’d eaten in the toilet. The uncomfortable way.
Just when I thought I had gotten the whatever-it-was out of my system, I went to bed and promptly had a nightmare about the book I just finished writing. Then I was back in the bathroom.
While I was lying on the bathroom floor, I thought of Turtles All the Way Down. Aza, Green’s protagonist, contemplates the book Ulysses by James Joyce. There’s a scene in that book where someone says “Jamesy let me up out of this,” as if the character realizes they’re fictional and doesn’t like this plot. At a couple points, Aza begs with the unknown entity she’s convinced is running her life (she has some kind of OCD-anxiety mental illness) to stop putting her through this plot. That night, I was having similar thoughts related to the ever-tightening nightmare-toilet-unpleasant sleep-toilet spiral.
That made me think of a book called Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers. The book is inspired by John Green’s work; the main difference is Sommers’ characters look to Christianity for answers to the tough questions in their lives. At one point, a character in Truest who’s also struggling with the ultimate question of “what’s real” says, “What if we’re all characters in a book? That would make the author God.”
It makes me wonder why John Green, who reportedly believes in God, hardly ever writes his characters turning to God for answers. Aza repeatedly refers to her grandmother’s Christian beliefs. But even at her lowest point when she says “let me up out of this,” she apparently doesn’t even consider putting that question to God.
Anyway, on the bathroom floor, I asked God to calm my stomach and my nerves, and then a voice in my head said “in through the nose, out through the mouth, nice and slow.” I did that, and I got better.
Happy 2018, folks. Your now is not your forever.
Did any of you have deep thoughts over the holidays?
Twitter: @noahspud and @CorrelationBlog