It always amazes me when something occurs that reminds me of a story I read or wrote or of a character in a work of literature. This happened just recently when I had my house re-painted: the picture above is the end result (included is a view of my California drought ravaged lawn).
Anyone who knows me, knows that John Grisham is my favorite author. They also know that I have all of his books in hardback and most of them are first editions. Without a doubt, my second favorite Grisham book is A Painted House (I will reveal my favorite book in the next post and tell you why I love it). This book is far from his usual legal thriller genre in that there is not a lawyer or a courtroom in the story.
This book is a far ranging story of people who are so dirt poor that having a next meal is not a given thing. Yet all through it, the young protagonist wanted just one thing, a painted house. His family’s house is a typical shot gun type abode sporting plain wooden exteriors and a tin roof, the type that share croppers often occupied. To have such a house painted was a crowning achievement for any family.
So when I finally had the funds to get my house a badly needed paint job, I remembered several things. I remembered how pitifully poor the characters in Grisham’s book are, so poor that you want to go help them in any way you can, but you can’t because they are fictional. Yet the seem so real. It also reminded me of how poor I was when I was young.
As the third child in a home of a single, uneducated, but hard-working Irish mother, I often went without as did we all. I remember having one pair of shoes and they were so worn and torn that you could see my hole filled socks through them. I remember dropping out of high school because my mother could not afford my school books. I remember taking a job in a car wash at 14 years old while earning one dollar per hour which made me feel rich at the end of each week. So having my house painted now, a house that I more or less own in a California seaside town, is a big thing. A real big thing mainly because of the memories that were stirred up as I read Grisham’s book. So far I have only read the book three times but after this week, it is on my agenda to be read again.
This is the power of the written word, it is the power that all authors seek to attain whether they admit it or not. They want their words to stir memories as well as make them. I can only hope that somewhere someone is moved to memories because of something I created.
To that end, I will keep writing.