You know the feeling: you discover a new writer, you devour their work and wonder how can it be that in all your reading you’ve never come across them before. You fight the urge to feel gypped and take comfort in the fact that you’ve seen the light and found a kindred spirit. You finish the book, favorite quotes/passages underlined, and add the book to a shelf of “can’t live without” books.
This happened to me while reading Martha Gellhorn’s Travels with Myself and Another. A former war correspondent, writer and Hemingway’s third wife, Martha lived an extraordinary life. For a woman who came of age in the 20s, worked and traveled the globe in the 1940s, she is brave and adventurous. The best way I can describe her is that she is the embodiment of gumption. She carved out a role for herself as a writer, bucked traditional gender roles, and boldly treks through China (during WW2) and Africa (solo). She’s not afraid of being alone or exploring (as long as she has a few novels in tow), she’s in her element as a curious adventurer and makes some seriously astute observations of what she sees, the essence of human nature and what she believes the future will hold.
And then I read this passage…
[…] this was infinite space. The idea of no boundaries, no end, is terrifying in the abstract and much worse if you are looking at it. The far-off stars were an icy crust; the darkness beyond the stars was more than I could handle. The machinery that keeps me going is not geared to cope with infinity and eternity as so clearly displayed in that sky.”
Beautifully written, evocative prose that brings back my own memories of standing underneath a smattering of stars scattered across an inky black sky. Just a small moment captured on a page, but one that allows the reader’s mind to wander to a memory of a night spent star-gazing and contemplating their place in the universe.
Happy 2nd birthday (and 100th grid) to YeahWrite. What’s YeahWrite you ask? Click the stellar party hat badge and find out for yourself.