From Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

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“I used to write ‘T-H-X’ when I wanted to say ‘thank you.’

“I did that too. Because, what, it would’ve taken too much time and effort to punch in an extra three letters and just say thanks? I can’t fathom it.” p 280

On Halloween I was with a bunch of friends all dressed up in costume. One woman was dressed as a fly fisherman and started showing us everything that was in her vest pockets: ties, pellets, a net to wear to keep away bugs. Someone piped up, if the apocalypse comes you’ll know how to fend for yourself.

That reminded me of a piece of trivia I had read online earlier that day: That if one zombie bit one person, in 34 days the whole world would have turned. That prompted a what if conversation with everyone chiming in that they wouldn’t have what it takes to be a survivalist at the end of the world.

Except me. I decided I would definitely do what it takes to keep on keeping on. I don’t know how that works for someone who doesn’t eat red meat or pork, but maybe in extreme cases you do what you have to do.

My answer surprised even me a little, but maybe I was still enraptured with Mandel’s post-apocalyptic novel featuring the Traveling Symphony. The book has been called a lovesong for right now and that felt like truth to me. The characters sometimes talk about things they miss like chocolate chip cookies and the little light in the refrigerator. Reading what they viewed as a loss made me experience my own nostalgia and at the same time stop taking things for granted. I identified strongly with the way they rhapsodized about reading magazines and rosin for their instruments, simple ordinary things I have in my house. Or the sheer and utter delight when they would stumble on something in the new world that they needed or when they accidentally discovered an item that they secretly yearned for. What really struck me about Mandel’s novel is that at least one of the characters ends up spending twenty years of his life in the same place, without contact with the “outside world.” It made me stop and think about the future. What would I do? Would I be happy?

I’m not writing about doomsday or instructions for living in a world after devastation and disaster. Still, it feels good to take stock in the world around me and my own little place in it.

I’m feeling grateful for~

applications completed and turned in

flannel sheets and heavy blankets

cars that start in the morning

bookshelves filled to overflowing

the wonder and awe of a child’s first evening of Trick or Treating.

inspirational friends both here and online

family traditions that are cherished and upheld each year

the smell of something sweet baking in the oven

my camera repaired—Finally!— and returned home to me

 

With the holidays approaching I know life is about to speed up— whizzing by so fast it’s hard to grab a handle and hold on. One of the wise women who visits me occasionally at the Library told me that she loves these couple weeks at the beginning of November. It’s the calm she says, before the storm. She tries to be quiet and settle into herself. She takes time to recharge now to help her get through the stress and pressure of the end of the year. I hope to take a moment to: appreciate what I have, to let people know how much they mean to me, to spell out all my words… Because life is too short to do it any other way.

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