Isabel Allende is my new literary hero. It has been years since I’ve read her books, but after listening to the Talking Volumes interview on MPR today, I want to revisit her old novels with the new vision of the author as a blunt and sassy lady–not really what I expected from a author of poetic sagas full of magical realism.
She spoke of changes. “Every two years,” she said, “things change or you die.” In her own life, things have changed many times over. She was born in Chile in the 1940’s, and she grew up feeling shy and never quite fitting in. Now she is an American citizen and a best-selling novelist. Still, though, there is still that quiet little girl inside her somewhere no matter how far she gets from that point in her life. “You are always in your skin,” she said. You change, or life changes around you, but you are still you with your hopes, fears, and passions. Just stronger and happier–hopefully.
Those magical sagas Allende wrote early in her career? They aren’t her anymore. She said she can’t even read The House of the Spirits now. The worldwide bestseller that launched Isabel Allende’s career is “overdone” as she put it. “Too baroque.” I know how she feels.
My current journal is almost full, and in a few more pages, I’ll add it to my stack of old journals that I am afraid to look at again for fear of finding them “overdone.” Perhaps even a bit “baroque.” I’ve been keeping a journal since I was a teenager. There are ups and downs of all sorts contained in those pages. Maybe one day I’ll read through them, even the cringe-worthy teenage journals full of bad poetry, but for now they are better left in a stack gathering dust as I move on to a new book of blank pages.
I can’t help but wonder what the next two years will bring.
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