I just finished reading Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Unbearably heartbreaking and amazingly heartwarming, this story asks for openness and empathy and plain old kindness.
There is a unique intimacy that Palacio creates with this book, so much so that it is as though she has eliminated the ink and paper (or text and screen) and has offered, instead, a living, breathing experience that unfolds between the reader and the story. The emotions are raw and pure. The actions are clear and vibrant. This is true even though the main character, Auggie, has so many genetic abnormalities he is a visual shock to everyone who meets him, and is thus a shock to the reader’s imagination as well. But because Palacio is immensely skillful at paring down her words and images to their essential intentions, and because she does not waste space or time with extra description or metaphor or her own opinion, the bell that is Wonder rings loud and clear. Its note reverberates in the air and slips effortlessly into the reader’s body.
It is a meditation, really.
This is not unlike standing at the lake’s edge and listening to a loon, or sitting on the porch and listening to the crack of thunder. The way the lines between the water and your toes, or the sky and your outstretched fingers get blurred; the way those sounds penetrate your body and almost become a part of you.
My goal this week is to practice this kind of meditation out in my landscape and then bring it into my writing where I can practice it there too.
How about you?