Light bubble

He gives my shoulder a squeeze and leaves after placing a demitasse of espresso on the bedside table. “Have a good ski,” I mumble from the depths of the down comforter.

Left alone, I imagine his long, strong legs gliding up snowy hills through evergreens so dark they look black and white birch trees in between appearing like his breath as he exhales in the cold.

In our bedroom I lie in a halo of light from the bedside lamp, everything bright and colour saturated. The window blinds are open but daylight has yet to define anything outside my circle of light. I feel like I’m in a bubble perfumed with coffee and whatever the hell is the smell of my body in the morning. Yesterday’s shower and shampoo, the heat between my toes, under my arms, behind my ears, under my eyelids. The heat of a freshly shampooed human in a closed space. I’m protected in my bubble, shielded by the down comforter and watched over by my lap dog whose head rests as he sleeps snuffling against my thigh.

I’m reading Alice Munro’s collection Dear Life, the first story “To Reach Japan”, trying to understand how she does it and in my dome of light all is illuminated and I see the story isn’t solely crafted by occult gifts. But I know, when I go to write later today, revise a story I’ve been working on since 2016, it won’t sound right. I am – d’uh – not Alice Munro.

I flag pages with coloured post-it notes. So many good things. So many. Like this:

Here nobody was safe. Judgement might be passed behind backs, even on the known and published. An air of cleverness or nerves obtained no matter who you were.

Immediately I think of Twitter because I’m new to the party, a bystander not sure what to do, what to say or why the hell bother saying it. How outside my light bubble it is. How unsafe. How everyone has a cause and they caw constantly like crows over carrion and I’m lost. How I’ve arrived at a party where

…she had somehow lost her bearings but getting a feeling that there was a giddy atmosphere of permission in the room, and it didn’t matter about not making friends, she could just wander around and pass her own judgments.

So I burrow further into down, sip my coffee, enjoy the perfume of my room, my life, safe.

Gradually time fills the bedroom with daylight. My light bubble dissipates and everything is covered in neutral cloudy January morning light. Instead of one shiny spot with me in the centre, I become diffused. Defused. Melded into an undistinguished and filtered day.

Today’s Just Jot It January teams up with Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Lots of fun stuff to read. Go. Look. You might like!

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19 thoughts on “Light bubble

  1. Really lovely. I love Munro, too, and admire her work. Too Much Happiness is a book I reread now and again, in the summer. Always in the summer. I love the connected stories that are individually satisfying.

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    • I’m also reading “Lives of Girls and Women”, her first book which is a book of short linked stories. Anne Beattie’s “The State We’re In” is cracked open, too and I’m switching back and forth savouring them all. Its a tough life.

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      • Lives of Girls and Women is very familiar, but I can’t say I’ve read it, cause I don’t remember. The State We’re In is not one I’ve read, or even heard of. Perhaps I should put these on hold.

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  2. It’s funny… I’m in the middle of reading Dear Life at the moment (a bit off and on.. Munro is someone to be read in small thoughtful does, I feel). But yes… she definitely inspires a bubble of thought and sense.

    Twitter is… well, it’s not a place to just “explore”. Better to have a place to be there for a time, then depart, to relax, and then return. Use the Hashtags, and follow only a few people (trust me, things will spread fast enough). Use it for quick social banter and updating, but not for long, though-provoking conversations. It has its place (like the quick chat in the grocery line).

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  3. I love Alice Munro too. And I do the same thing, jot down quotes out of books where I admire the writing. Sometimes when I run across something that is just perfect I have to stop and savor it. Sometimes I even have to stop reading the book because it’s just so rich that I can only read it in snippets.

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  4. I agree – you really captured an experience here – raw newbie, unconfident, comparing self unfavourably…….. It crosses genres believe me and applies to whatever art your bent is inclined to! And in your stream of consciousness you’ve captured it perfectly!

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    • Thanks, Jan. Really, no one should compare themselves to Alice Munro – or any other writer for that matter. I often read your posts and go “I wish I could write like Jan.” Its interesting when you actually sit down and try to figure out how someone else’s writing works and you think it should be something you can duplicate and of course you can’t. If it was that easy it wouldn’t be unique or special.

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