Monday, 26 November 2012

Fantasy World

Fantasy World
26 November 2012

At present I am having the most awesome time indulging in a new fad of mine – deep sea diving.  Bet you didn’t know that about me now did you?  Who would’ve thought that me of the limited swimming skills would enjoy a sport where those very same swimming skills are a vital ingredient.  Indeed of life saving importance.  I love the feeling of sitting on the side of the boat, with my back to the water, looking down at the flippers on my feet, anticipating the feeling of freedom and aquatic speed they’ll allow me once I hit the water.  I shift my shoulders to feel the familiar weight of my oxygen tanks on my bank.  I adjust my mask, glance down at my oxygen gauge and check my mouthpiece once more and then, with a final thumbs up to my diving buddy, I push myself backwards off the boat, into the deep blue unknown.  My first few moments of weightlessness despite all of my heavy gear, as well as the enveloping cold despite my wetsuit gives me an incredible rush of adrenaline.  It fills me with gratitude and awe that I am once again having this experience.  One of the best feelings in the whole world.

What might surprise some or even most, is the fact that I have never gone deep sea diving.  Nor shallow sea diving.  Heck, I don’t even dive in a pool and the thought of relying on a snorkel for oxygen fills me with equal portions of fear and dread.  Not over my dead body will I ever entrust a little piece of rubber and my sure-to-be-flawed-skills.  I’m very much a namby pamby when it comes to water.  I absolutely always get water up my nose and in my ears and within about three seconds of being under water I inevitably feel as if my lungs are about to burst and I will surely run out of lifesaving oxygen.  But here is the trick.  At present I am reading a fabulous book in which I’m a diving pro.  Nah, never mind a pro – I’m actually a diving instructor – so I dive for fun and for a living.  And no, I didn’t steal the above descriptive words or sentences from the book I’m reading, I am just able to fully visualise the experience.  Between the book I’m reading and the odd diving snippet I’ve seen on TV, it truly feels as though I have indeed lived through this experience.

And such is the magic of books.  They have the ability to let you be anyone, experience anything, be anywhere.  There are no limits.  My imagination and boundaries have been stretched.  They have taught me empathy and a wealth of other emotions too.  They have left me feeling bereft and joyful.  Happy and sad.  Excited and nervous.  Eagerly turning pages to find out what happens next.  I love everything about them.  Their weight in my hand and their smell as I turn the pages and open them up.  They simply always smell of knowledge and adventure – no matter how old or young they are.

I simply love getting lost in a book.  It truly has to be one of the very best feelings in the world.  The way a book pulls you virtually into the pages.  Where you feel unable to put it down for even one minute.  How even when you’ve had to tear yourself away from the book, it is still with you all of the time.  How your mind doesn’t simply switch off and you’re still lost in the world the words have conjured up.  I’ve been known to cook with a book in my hands, making a killer white sauce at the same time.  The same goes for pasta sauces too.

Just recently on some of my book journey’s I’ve been a lawyer, a fire fighter, a nature conservationist, and a Hollywood actress.  I even had a wild time being part of a wacky and off-beat Irish family.  I loved my eccentric Da as well as my kooky sisters.  My courtroom battles as a lawyer were legendary – the stuff books are written about (well, speaking of which).  My theatrical skills were sublime, and naturally I was hauntingly beautiful to boot.  I had my hands full tracking and outwitting a notorious serial arsonist, but as can be expected, I got my guy in the end.  I did an awesome stint infiltrating a poaching ring and saving a whole bunch of rhino’s and some other animals too.  I did have the odd hairy moment though and nearly met with an untimely end, which would really have ruined things for me.  And so the list goes on and on and on.  I’m not a book snob.  In fact far from it.  I don’t read “good” books.  I read fun books.  Books that entertain me.  Books that enthral me.  Many of my very favourite books are children’s books.  Dr Seuss one of my favourite authors.  For who does not like “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green eggs and ham”?  I for one most certainly do.

I’ve travelled the world.  I’ve even travelled in time.  I’ve been a passenger on the Titanic.  I experienced all of the horrors of World War II.  I met the Tsar and Tsarina and helped them to escape.  Out of the kindness of their hearts and as a measure of gratitude, they gave me the most beautiful Faberge egg as a gift.  I've scaled Everest, and joined Phileas on his travels around the world in 80 days.  I have clambered about the pyramids and have explored Stonehenge.  I helped Asterix and Obelix defeat the Romans and gave Tintin a hand on his adventures too.  Books are my friends and they invite me into their world.  They urge me to join them on an unforgettable journey.  My memories linger of the experiences I’ve had.  The people I’ve met.  The families I’ve had.

Where would the world be without books?  How dull a place.  No memories shared.  No secrets revealed.

Within the open folds of a book, the possibilities are endless.  Whispering their stories, inviting you in.  I rejoice in books and pay tribute to their authors for all they have given me.  Many happy hours, lost to the world.  What a perfectly marvellous joyful distraction.  The very best kind.

Books truly are the world.  The oyster of the mind.  For with them all things are possible.


1 comment:

  1. One day you will write a book too! And I will ask you to autograph it for me - your biggest fan!