Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Mirror of Barkley

I was going to do some deep thinking last night, but got side tracked.  My sister-from-another-mother Brigid emailed me a copy of her book, The Book Of Barkley.  As you can imagine, I got distracted.  It's about Barkley, but much more it's about the mirror that we hold up that's called "memory", and what that mirror shows to us.  With her permission, he's a taste:

I spent much of my early adulthood as a jet pilot, learning very quickly that, not only can't you always save the world, sometimes you cannot even save yourself.  But the effort is often worth it. If you're lucky, your brushes with life will only leave a few small physical scars. If I raise up my bangs, right at the hairline, there’s a tiny, faint scar from a tumble off my bike down a hill as a kid. There's a small ding in my forehead where the bungee cord of the J60-P-3 turbojet engine cover whacked me on the ramp at warp speed when I lost the wrestling contest with it.  But for most people, like me, the bigger scars are internal, and you only touch them softly, with trepidation, not remorse, in the late night hours of "what if’s."

Pilots get that.  Adventurers get that.  So, usually, does anyone who has challenged their fears. There are times when it seems as if the world is going to pieces around you, a sense of this enormous elemental power beyond your reason or control.  You think "what am I doing; this is nuts!"  As you squeak past the reaper one more time, you say “well, that wasn’t as bad as I thought” already planning on when you will chase the experience again.  For you are called to the altar of the infinite, the bread of life on the tongue, tasting faintly of salt, the sweetness, just underneath.  It's reaching your hand out to receive glory even as your world cranks up to red line with the knowledge that if mistakes are made, there will be no saving grace; you may be lost.  But if are not, then the world will, for that instant, have one moment of equilibrium, of order, of peace.
Actually, this captures motorcycling precisely, and may explain the overlap between the pilot population and the biker crowd.  That moment of equilibrium - to me at least - often comes when you roll that power on.

Pilots get that.  Adventurers get that.  So, usually, does anyone who has challenged their fears.

But challenging your fears doesn't mean forgetting your memories, or putting down that mirror that shows us who we are - scars and worry lines and all:
A quiet morning walk doesn't just carry you across the local landscape, it takes you across the landscape of memory, to places long past which we can only visit in our dreams.  Jack has been gone these twenty years now, but I still hear his deep throated bark, outraged at the swimming otter's insolence.  #1 Son hasn't been eight years old for ever and ever, but I still hear his child's voice rising with outrage that the bird is back at the pond.  I hear the frustration in the voice of young #2 Son, asking where the beaver is, knowing he is about to be delighted when he finally catches a glimpse of it.

Ivan the Terrier loves these walks.  The chance to sniff around, to catch new smells and sights from a place that's not his yard keeps him mentally sharp.  The walk through old but cherished memories is good for me, too.  Even if the path is crowded with Jack and some small children.
This mirror of Barkley isn't about him, at least if we read it for what it says to us.  About us.  Brigid sure has a rare talent to write a book about me and Jack, and a young #1 Son, and a younger #2 Son, and Ivan the Terrier.

And you.  Yes, and Barkley too.

Her's is an astonishing gift, and those of you who have yet to read this are lucky indeed.


Old NFO said...

Looking forward to the hard copy, I want to savor it...

Anonymous said...

I'm proud to call her friend!


Brigid said...

Thank you my friends. Borepatch - I was honored you'd take the time to read it (as did you gfa) as one of the first of my friends to do so. Old NFO, had you not been writing your second novel, I'd have sent you one as well :-)

The copy editing is done, the interior layout, probably 3-4 more weeks and it will be available in both hard copy and kindle.

Opinionated Grump (Rich in NC) said...

Waiting for the arrival is hard enough without the 'teasers' from the 'first readers'.... Thank's Mr Borp' for raising my anticipation level even higher... Thank you very much....
Did I mention thank you?

Rich in NC

PS Thanks a lot.

Brigid said...

Rich in NC - but I was counting on you to buy a copy so it didn't languish on the shelf. :-)

I'm as anxious as you all are.

Borepatch said...

Rich in NC, no need to thank me. It's all part of being a Full Service blog.


Opinionated Grump (Rich in NC) said...

Mr Borp' - Thanks for having a 'Full Service' blog.

Ms B - I'm being very patient (sic) waiting for the Dead Tree version, so you must keep counting, [and, just so you know, I doubt very highly that there will be any 'languish'ing going on with those dead tree books sitting in brick and mortar bookstores].

Rich in NC

Cap'n Jan said...

She is indeed, a gifted writer. But she is also one of a kind as a photographer... There are writers out there that are dang good, but her eye with a camera is nonpareil. Every Single Picture is good enough to frame and hang in the main room.

If you ever do decide to 'roll on' over to the Midwest Blog meet maybe this Texas Girl will roll (4 wheel roll) on up just to meet her and tell her thanks for all the moments she has let us glimpse. (And say hello, again, to Mr. Borepatch!)

That redhead is something special.

Fair Winds,

Cap'n Jan

Lantry said...

After reading that, I will probably buy a hard copy AND one for the Kindle so I don't have to wait on the mail. The thing about Brigid's writing is that its usually so deep that I'm left speechless so I rarely comment. Rare indeed.

Brigid said...

Cap'n Jan - A few of the photos on the blog were taken by friends when we've been shooting or playing with the pooch but 98% of them are mine (probably the 2% are the ones that need framing :-)

Thanks everyone!