***I wrote this months ago, but it got lost in the recesses of my notebook until today***
I’ve never been able to make up my mind about whether I like novels or short stories better.
On the one hand, I live for novels. They’re the ones that can lift you off your feet and throw you into another world where you can lose yourself for a long time. When I think of stories I like the most, they’re always novels. Since the authors have so many pages in which they can develop their characters, the characters have so much depth I feel like I know them better than my closest friends. And when the book ends, there’s almost a sort of physical pain – which a sequel is sometimes ready to fill. (I’ve never found a sequel that was better than the original – I feel like I use them mostly as a crutch to continue seeing the characters I love – a little like how you might go visit a dear friend in jail and talk to them through bars.)
On the other hand, novels often require more commitment than I can give. It takes effort to pull yourself back out of a world just as you had gotten into it. Sometimes a girl just needs a pick-me-up.. and short stories are great for that.
One of the only concepts I can remember from those nightmarish days of high school physics is interference. We probably learned that on the first day of class… what happens when two waves meet? Destructive interference. Novels and short stories both have great benefits, but the kind that threatened to cancel out if you put them together. After all, wasn’t the consequence of one what drove you into the arms of another?
But physics teaches us that destructive interference doesn’t always occur. Sometimes, when the waves meet at just the right moment, something great happens – something bigger and better.
That’s exactly how I felt after reading The Spa by Amy Weldon. It’s a collection of short stories interspersed with a continuing narrative that spun it into a maze of sharing and retelling. Every night I’d settle down for another chapter and wonder what new story the next lady would tell. I felt as content as if I were sitting in the Jacuzzi with them, inhaling the aroma of jasmine and fresh tales. And the best part was, there was no pain in separation – when the ladies left back for their various lives, reinvigorated with rest and second hand wisdom, I too felt as if I had rested up and was ready for my next adventure. Perhaps I’d best pick up that murder mystery novel I’d left on the bookshelf.
I had originally picked this book up as a “blind date” for Valentine’s day. The cover was wrapped and tied with a pink ribbon so that I couldn’t see what it was. It really did work out though – I don’t know if I’d pick this book from a shelf if I had been looking. Sometimes you don’t know what you want – but fate works its magic and hands you a great present.
(By the way, isn’t the “blind date” book idea just the cutest one ever? Kudos to whoever came up with that. I’m definitely going to try and make this a Christmas tradition with the family or something!)