A LITTLE BIT OF MYTH
Updated: Mar 8, 2018
I expect this is going to sound snobby...
I needed an antidote to the relentless and somewhat nonsensical carnage of the last of the 5th Wave trilogy. This was like standing in a cool breeze, the Aegean air playing in my hair and rinsing some of the muck from my brain. It is pretty, and calm, and thoughtful and the difficult questions are provoking rather than baffling. Theseus isn't a great hero, but the Greeks didn't really define their heroes as being heroic and perfect; rather they were interesting and with some outstanding qualities. In this story Theseus is well aware of his shortcomings, and narrating his life story 'as a lesson for my son'... except his son is dead, caught out in a mistake of his own. As he is dead, he feels free to include 'certain passages of love' and thus we enter the story of his deeds and dalliances.
I've had a soft spot for Gide since the librarian at school handed me a copy of the Counterfeiters when I was about 16 and the writing wasn't like anything I'd read before. Margaret was like that, she gave me all sorts of books that I didn't recognise the significance of until I well into my 20s.
I'm also bracing for, at the very least, some editing of the Theseus play I wrote for the lower school play - I knew when I wrote it that the choral section recounting the birth of the Minotaur was never going to make it in it's entirety, but it didn't make writing it any less fun -and having Theseus on the brain did lead me back to this. I laughed at the section of Marie Kondo's book about throwing away your books. Yes I probably wont read all of them again, but I will read many another time, some repeatedly so, and my children might want to when they're older - I certainly read a lot of novels from my parents shelves. And anyway, I like standing in front of them sometimes, feeling my way along their bumpy spines, remembering where I was - and who I was when I read them.
Unsupringly we have tried to cultivate a love of books in the children - Sally insists of having at least 4 books read to her before bed each night and Pip likes ones with lift the flaps and furry pictures. But this evening he was just too, too cute. We were sat together as he drank his bedtime milk, and when he was finished, he got up and toddled over to the shelves, picked out a book and carried it back with a massive grin on his face. Then he plonked himself down on my lap and turned the pages (before climbing on the sofa and carrying it around the room a few times). He was very pleased with himself; I was stuck between crying and laughing.