Light View

I’ve always had a heart for fiction. For me, it tells the truths that mere facts can’t explain. That’s why, years ago when I was young and naïve, I opted for an MA in literature rather than something more financially rewarding, like a teaching degree. I did a catch-up on that after my three kids were born, but by then it was too risky to change gears. Instead, I walked my way to a retirement pension. C'est la vie!

So now I’m an old woman (this is not a bad thing!) but it’s the fiction of my youth that haunts me here in my shady reading nook. I’m pulling out Alice Munro and Gabriele Wohmann story collections. (I did my MA thesis on Gabriele Wohmann). Both women wrote about the prisons of domesticity. As my husband lies in the hospital, waiting for vascular by-pass surgery, I’m again finding respite in my old short story friends, again finding truths that facts can’t explain.

While waiting in an ICU waiting room earlier this month (what else would one do in a waiting room, after all?), I pondered the wall art. I was struck by the similarity between the book I’d brought along, having grabbed it from the top of my summer to-read pile. The cover of Afternoon Light by Ralph Beer looks a lot like the waiting room wall hanging. Beer’s book, which follows an American draft dodger into the BC interior back in the early 70s, is a book about young love and idealism. I wonder where it will end up? In some ICU waiting room like an Alice Munro short story? You never know. 

No matter. I’m grateful for summer light, for dappled shade, for wonderful friends, and for the magic of fiction. 


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