Lovely Readers, I’ve been a terrible blogger in the month of November. With only one month left of my original blogging/reading adventure, I should really be more present. So apologies!
In my defense, I was away for a week this month, and a lot has been going on in the world. But I’ll talk more about that later.
Today, I wanted to let you know that I am still writing, and reading, and had the chance to put something up on the Times Union blog here in Albany. Hope you’ll take a look! Here’s the link, or you can follow the cut to the pasted post below.
Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of reading Andy Weir’s The Martian. It was really awesome, and I talked about it on my blog, Fifteenthousandpages, here. What I loved most was its optimism. Mark Watney, the main character, is stuck on Mars. But he doesn’t mope! He tries to figure out how to survive, how to get home. You gotta love that.
I also just came back from a vacation to Tampa Bay, where I visited with family and got to watch the Giants beat the Buccaneers! Like The Martian, it was pretty fantastic.
But let me tell you, by the end, I was ready to get home to my bed, my puppy, and my apartment. I love vacations. I love going to new places, seeing new things, and just doing something different. But I don’t think there’s anything quite as satisfying as getting back to home base after a few days away. Being back in that spot where you’re the most you, where you’re comfortable, where everything makes sense.
Sometimes, books make me feel that way, too. I can just slip into the pages, and fall right back in to a world that I know and love. And sometimes, those books just happen to have that wonderfully coming-home element in them as well.
One book, in particular, that encompasses everything great about coming home is Audrey Niffenegger’s debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife.
That’s a book that, whenever I’m feeling sad or hopelessly romantic, I pick up to read. It gives me such a comfort to fall into the love story of Clare and Henry, the novel’s protagonists, and to see how the two of them keep their heads up even during the most trying of times – namely, Henry’s odd ability (curse?) to travel through time. Every time I read and see their love story unfold, I sink just that much more into my comfy place, not worrying about the world around me.
And that’s really what coming home is about, isn’t it? It’s about finding and being in that place where you feel safe, whole, and warm. Henry DeTamble and Mark Watney perfectly showcase this – be it in very, very different ways.
Inherently different, both The Martian and The Time Traveler’s Wife ground these two characters in some way to help them find that home-comfort. Henry’s grounded in his love for Clare. When he travels, it’s most often to a place where she is, so that they can be together. And when they meet in “real time,” his travels become fewer and farther between. Truly, she is his rock.
Mark, on the other hand, uses his knowledge and his wits to ground him. So he’s stuck on Mars? Okay, there are ways to work with that. If there’s one thing I’ve learned watching Apollo 13 and reading other things that have to do with astronauts, it’s that there’s always a mission, a reason, a point. And that’s what Watney uses to ground himself. There was a point to going to Mars, so he grounds himself in his Mission, tries to complete it, and also figures out a way to survive. His only setback? It’s not exactly easy to communicate with Earth when you don’t have communication equipment really and people think you’re dead. But not even that gets him down!
It’s nice to know that even in fictional stories, it’s the desire to be home to often gets people through. I know, for me, that’s true, too.