What have you been reading lately, dear wordsmiths? (I’m sure we are all reading even more than usual whilst waiting out this pandemic.)
I’ve been reading a variety of things, as always – poetry, satire, history, literary novels, ‘Young Adult’ fiction (one of my favourite things) – but more than anything I’ve been immersing myself in the Romance genre, most of the books quite forgettable, but nevertheless enjoyable at the time. This is a startling departure for me. Except for Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances in my youth, for most of my life I’ve ignored this genre, even despised it.
I have turned into my mother! How disconcerting. My Mum and I loved each other but were very different people. If there was one thing I was determined on when I was growing up, it was not to be like her or live her kind of life.
"What you resist, you become," I learned in Personal Development years ago. Hmmm! Yes, now that I look back, I see various patterns I seem to have replicated, both in my private and professional life.
And specifically, I’ve become her in her final years, when she was elderly, widowed and living alone – just as I am now.
When she, in her eighties, started borrowing a steady stream of romances from her local library, I was horrified. How could such an intelligent woman, with hitherto such excellent literary taste, such willingness to engage with ideas, so abreast of world affairs, suddenly have sunk to that?
Now here I am, just like her! I do still read the other things; I do still engage with ideas and acquaint myself with what’s happening in the world. But I’m also ready for a large helping of escapism.
‘Nothing wrong with that,’ said a friend to whom I confessed my shame. ‘It’s light entertainment.’ I decided I could wear that.
I don’t want a real romance of my own, not at this time of life – having enjoyed lots of that when younger, including my own personal happy-ever-after. My Mum was the same. When people asked if she would ever think of finding someone else after my stepfather, the love of her life, died, she always said, ‘He’d have to have every hair hung with diamonds and three feet in the grave!’ Neither of us missed out when it came to love and romance; and there’s a lot to be said for the freedom, in age, to live life just as one pleases (if one can't live it with the best-beloved). But it’s nice to recapture some romance vicariously.
Finally I understand. But it’s still startling to perceive that I’ve turned into her. I never thought I would.
I invite you to write about turning into one of your parents – which for you might be something desirable! – or to write about resisting such a fate.
You may choose poetry or prose, but we ask that prose be limited to 369 words (excluding title). One piece per person, please; post to your blog and drop us the link to that specific post in the space below.