Six books that have had an impact on me.
Terry Pratchett: Small Gods.
Belief gives things shape; it is the strength of belief in a thing that makes it what it is. In Small Gods it is the strength of belief Brutha has that keeps the great god Om alive; even though Om has the largest number of people who subscribe to his religion.
Eric Maisel: The Van Gogh Blues.
This book normalised depression for me. Maisel theorises that it is the loss of meaning that results in depression in creative people. The methods he describes have allowed me to express how I am in the depression. When I miscarried I drew mothers with ghosts following them; when the first cycle IVF didn't work I painted wombs as cemeteries; poetry, photos, sketches, building, finding a new formula, writing... what ever your creative expression of self, artist or scientist, when depressed you can use that to show meaning and find meaning. See the review/ counselling piece in Crayons.
Aside: In homeopathy Post partum/natal depression is thought to be caused by the mother feeling she had meaning while pregnant but looses sight of that once the child is born. The rejection of the baby (common sign of PND)) is connected to an ill formed differentiation of the birth mother from her own mother.
Richard's Encyclopedia Volume 13, published 1958.
It had everything! Fairy stories, mythology, mind puzzles, word games, stuff that would not normally be in an encyclopaedia! As a kid I'd spend hours pouring over this one volume. The fairy tales were not dumbed down or Disney-fied. The puzzles were a challenge; and you got something new each time. My favourite page was a picture of flowers; you had to name them all. They weren't flowers in the picture though. You had two lips for tulips, a picture of row after row of corn for rose. I think I'll go visit mum and get it. I think its sitting in the garage somewhere... should save it for my kids.
Bill Bryson: Notes From A Small Island.
This book began my love affair with travel novels. I cannot afford to travel the world yet but these books let me see things I never would of known about. Ones like Holy Cow by Sarah McDonald let me see India, Lonely Planet's Smallest Countries showed me the many kingdoms that exist, (Including a few in Australia, Hutt River Province I think was one.)
I learnt how to bake from these. I'm one of the three in my social group who gets requests for food when parties are coming up. My melting moments melt on the way to your mouth; my ginger biscuits get requested most often; I was using m&ms in biscuits before they came in mini and become fashionable.
I find baking relaxing. I find substituting and experimenting so that vegans are able to eat what I make a challenge. I hate that I cannot try as I go like I used to, as not everyone wants GF biscuits and cakes. One day I'll throw recipes up somewhere. They are not health foods but heart foods, and I think that is as important.
Emily Bronte: Wuthering Hieghts
This showed me that not every book my mother told me to read was about Australia when she was a child and helped me to learn to respect others opinions. She's right; it's depressing in parts but the greatest love story. My Father gave me the love of books and taught me how they were an escape; my mother showed me the importance of reading things that make you reflect. My father taught me to read everything; my mother made sure I had practical interests; sewing, knitting, baking.
Saying: Mr Feeny, my year 12 Literature teacher, told us to memorise poems and plays. He said it would give us something to do while we were stuck far away from a book and bored.
: I believe we write our own stories. And each time we think we know the end - we don't. Perhaps luck exists somewhere between the world of planning, the world of chance, and in peace that comes from knowing that you just can't know it all. You know, life's funny that way. Once you let go of the wheel, you might end up right where you belong.
From: Little Black Book.