Jul 8, 2012

"Tell the Wolves I'm Home"

I just finished the last word of "Tell the Wolves I'm Home" by Carol Rifka Brunt and while I've been wanting to write about it over each of the three days I've been reading it, I waited until I knew it all.  And I don't want to wait until too much time has slipped by and I'm not feeling this emotionally full.  It's filled me to capacity.  A haunting, beautiful, complete world in that book.  I couldn't wait to get back in each time I was forced to come out.  Each time I came out, it was jarring.  I could barely put it down.  It creates the kind of world that pulls you into yourself.  You feel flipped inside out.  Introverted, shy, and like your secret self is on display because you've dived so into the depths of it.

The Secret Self.  That's something I've been thinking a lot about.  Those words keep floating up in me.  The seed was planted while reading Yann Martel's "Beatrice and Virgil" (which I've now had a second run at & highly recommend as Yann Martel is a favorite of mine).  Henry the writer talking about Henry the taxidermist.  How what he wrote was nothing like the man he appeared to be, but that art sometimes comes from a "secret self".  Henry says that the eloquent words the other Henry writes aren't at all like he speaks.  He speaks haltingly, in fragmented sentences.  Not fluid and poetic like what's on the pages (I'm paraphrasing here but just wanting to give you the idea).  I've been taking comfort in those ideas.  I've never put them into words for myself but they are worries that bubble up in me from time to time.  I feel when I write, what comes out is from another self, not the self that presents itself to the world.  The self who feels she can't often explain out loud what lies in her heart of hearts.  How others perceiving her as inarticulate is one of her biggest fears.  How she could seldom speak the way she writes, because people just don't talk like that.  How if asked an important question she'll fumble at being put on the spot and won't think of the way she could have answered until later, when the muse comes and gives her a piece of poetry for an explanation.  

But then I worry that people won't get to see the self that can sit down and channel words and poems and translate feelings and thoughts onto a page or screen.  So.  How comforting it was, to know that art can come from a secret self.  It doesn't have to be able to jump out at the drop of a hat to prove that it's in there.  That it comes when it comes, how it comes, in it's own time.  The secret self that is so alive in me and surely this must be in others who are also artistic and sensitive.  And how wonderful that is.    

"Tell the Wolves I'm Home" is a peek into protagonist June's secret self.  So raw.  So visceral.  It's what is private.  What private means is brought up several times in the book.  There's nothing more comforting than peeking into a secret self of another person.  Knowing that others must and do have the sensation that they are the only ones on the earth to have such strange thoughts passing through heads and hearts.  Knowing another's secret self is like having a secret, too.  It's a little piece of humanity that adds to who you are.  It's having a secret that makes you feel wise, comforted, sometimes sad, but also loved.  

I am becoming more aware all the time at how important it is to share our secret selves.  That's why people go to the theatre! Read poetry and novels! See movies! Listen to music! Because that was created in the place of the secret self.  The truest, beautiful and most vulnerable spot that lives in each of us.  That part we don't always embrace.  That part we often question or try to explain away.  So in seeing or hearing others show theirs, we get to have something to relate to.  To be inspired and comforted by.  It's how we know we aren't alone.  

That brings a new perspective to sitting in the audience during good theatre.  Or a movie.  Or symphony.  Or whatever it may be.  Thinking about how we're all sharing in the collective consciousness of the experience but we often don't realize just how intimate our reasons are for being there.  We are all there because we need to be.  

Look at the importance of tapping into, getting to know, and sharing that secret self!

That's it.  That's the stuff.

Tweet me: @DeenaMarie

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