Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

I met a writer when I was in Maine. She had been very sick when someone brought a snail to her room where she was convalescing. She couldn't do much; she couldn't move; she was completely bedridden. Over time, she started observing, and then engaging with, the snail. The snail moved extremely slowly, and she barely moved at all. They became companions. She eventually wrote a book about their relationship, with forays into the natural history of the snail. The book was extremely well-received. She was at the film festival, because she is now making a short film about the book about the snail. She had already made a trailer for the book which won best book trailer of the year at I bought the book. I started reading it. It is exquisitely observed and written. I read it on the way to get IV iron infusion, which scared me very much. (It turned out to be quite hard but ultimately OK. Nothing went wrong. I just hated it.) But the book helped  me a great deal. It helped me to slow down and think about how to observe something outside of myself. It helped me to re-frame time passing. It helped me just to know that someone had transformed her entire experience of having been extraordinarily ill into a stunning work of literature. I'm only about 1/4 of the way into the book, so perhaps the best part (for me at this moment) is that I still have so much to look forward to.

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