Friday, January 02, 2015

Review: This Should Be Written in the Present Tense, by Helle Helle

I have just finished reading the most wonderful book.

My boss suggested this book without having read it. I think I will make him read it. At first, the run-on sentences bothered me. They were deliberate, though, and used to effect.

When I was done, I thought I wanted to cry, but I had forgotten how.

The jacket said it is a book 'for anyone who has ever been young, sleepless, and a little reckless, trying to figure it all out.'

But I think it is a book about the small things we notice when we're trying hard not to notice the big things. It is beautiful, but strangely so.

When I googled it later, I found a review from the Guardian, describing it as 'a book with all the bigness hidden away', so I guess someone agrees with me.


I see now

I have been fortunate to occupy a privileged space in this charmed life:

I am intelligent enough to understand and learn many things, but not so clever as to intimidate others or find them anything less than fascinating. I am curious all the time, surrounded by wise teachers, and quite silly at times!

I am proud enough to acknowledge my achievements, and humble enough to recognise others'  contributions to those achievements. I also respect others'  achievements, many of which seem far greater than (but do not diminish) my own accomplishments.

I am kind enough to help others, and greedy enough to accept help when it is offered.

I am passionate about my hobbies—running, music, writing—and with dedication and time I have become acceptably good at them (or so I like to think). But I have not reached a point where there is pressure to take them beyond that label. They remain hobbies, not careers or callings.

I am pretty enough to avoid scorn for my appearance—and why does such a thing happen, anyway?—yet plain enough to avoid the question, 'Am I being loved for physical beauty alone?'

I am wealthy enough to live securely and share with those less fortunate, but still poor enough to appreciate what I've got and the joy it can bring to others.

I have always managed to acquire everything I need, but never more than I could possibly want.