Saturday, July 19, 2008

"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle

It's fantasy turned reality. It's not often that I get sucked in into a fantastic story plot that I feel the story consuming me. I could always detach myself because I knew the story was fiction. What was different with this book is that the familiar concepts of love, family, respect, patience, impatience and many more were all related with such clarity and vagueness that it was uncannily realistic.

It sounds ironic but isn't life? It's the consistency of inconsistencies and the unchanging differences that really caught my attention as I read this book. The main characters were outcasts: weird, strange and "moronic" by people's standard. Meg Murry, a lonely girl who deals with the mysterious absence of her father with much anger and treats and seems not to belong whatever she does. Charles Wallace is a little boy who doesn't know how to read yet but is so profound in his thinking he can virtually feel someone's mind and emotions. Calvin, the popular school jock that isn't comfortable in his own skin. He too is pretending to be like everyone else yet he knows he is different. Charles and Meg are from the Murry brood and has twin siblings: Dennys and Sandy, who are average at most. Mrs. Murry is a beautiful scientist who writes her missing husband every day to the amusement of the town and the post mistress who knows of her daily routine. The town believes Mr. Murry ran off with a younger lady when in fact, he "tessered" into time ... hence the title ... A Wrinkle in Time ... it's a way of traveling through time not linearly but in the fifth dimension, almost like folding paper so that one can get on one plane without crossing the "shortest" straight line between distances which is supposedly the widely accepted form of traveling.

That thinking out of the box also captured me. The life on Camazotz is very mucht the life we strive to have in this earth. A sort of status quo were nothing is ever different and we function with certain norms. We don't want to upset anyone so we try not to be "too" different. But for some people, the differences are the best ingredients of fun. For me, I admit that the monotony of life would kill me. I am one of those people who would at least try something once. Although I have my own inhibitions, I also that I could overcome them given the equation that I won't be on earth forever. Morbidity mentioned ... death is such a potent mover.

Sometimes, I feel that I've become very ordinary, in my dealings with people, in my writing, in my life. It's brought by the stability of life. Then I get sick and then there's variety. Then there's the occasional peppering of problems which could be problematic or which could just be blah. I'm thankful though that I don't have much problems right now except for that very vague concept of property and ownership and wealth: MONEY. But that too is temporal and arbitrary.

I would like to deal in terms of love ... although I would probably be one of the least wealthy, I think it would be a sort fair trade. Then again, what is the measure of love and would measuring its worth demean it? Hmmm ... maybe. What if it wasn't traded like a commodity? Maybe if it was given freely and then measured in terms of how it makes a person's life worth living? What if the world was like that? How nice it would be!

I look at you and see the beatings of your heart and feel every tick of that organ pulsating with love ... or the quiver it makes with each pain it feels. One could tell immediately what needs to be done. A dosage of love and kindness please! It would seem out of this world, even for me ... but why can't it be? Why do we hide in our little shells or put on other shells that hides who we really are? What are we afraid of? People's judgements? The world's approval ...

The book taught me that being different is good and that we all have our strengths in them. This is something we all probably know. But it was a gentle reminder that indeed even in the most chaotic of differences and changes, lies the gem of uniqueness.

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