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musings (…on the Chiefs and soup and books and courage and magical doors)

 

Hello! It’s been a while.

First, let’s just get a few things out of the way.

Um, well, most importantly of all, the Chiefs won the AFC Championship. 

 

As if you likely didn’t already know.

I was such a happy girl last night while watching that game (well, once we moved ahead and I started to feel pretty safe, that is). Jack told me that his ear drums were obliterated after watching the game with me. 

(Personally, I think that’s a slight exaggeration.)

 

The second most important thing I need to tell you is that Zuppa Toscana is the best soup in the history of all soups, and you should make some. Immediately. I will provide the link here for your convenience: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/easy-zuppa-toscana-recipe/

You truly need to make this soup. You just do. It is the cure for whatever ails you this winter. Trust me on this.

 

The third most important thing I need to tell you is that there are some lovely books floating around the literary universe right now that just beg to be read. A few weeks ago I finished The Starless Sea. I checked this book out from the library, but I need to buy it (a thing I rarely do with fiction) so that I can underline all.the.beautiful.sentences. There are so many. I honestly believe this is the most beautiful book I have ever read. Really and truly.

Last week I finished The Most Fun We Ever Had, which is a multi-generational narrative that drew me in and didn’t let me go until I turned that final page (with a rather wistful sigh, as I had enjoyed my time swept away in the characters’ lives).

This afternoon I finished listening to The Ten Thousand Doors of January. If you ever doubted that an ethereal muse existed, then read both The Starless Sea and The Ten Thousand Doors of January, and I think you just might change your mind. The muse visited the authors of both of these books and whispered in their ears tales brimming with gloriously gorgeous sentences, deep themes, aching beauty, etched words, enchanting books, the sea (both of the starless and literal variety), and magical doors that open into magical worlds. The stories are completely and utterly different and yet also uncannily and marvelously similar. 

 

Sometimes I feel there are doors lurking in the creases of every sentence, with periods for knobs and verbs for hinges.

Alix. E. Harrow, The Ten Thousand Doors of January 

These doors will sing. Silent siren songs for those who seek what lies behind them. For those who feel homesick for a place they’ve never been to. Those who seek even if they do not know what (or where) it is that they are seeking. Those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea

 

This afternoon while I was making soup my mind wandered off on its own, and once I had reined it in from some rather unpleasant ruminating, I remembered a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (which, upon fact checking, seems to be a summary of a speech rather than his exact words) and a quote from The Ten Thousand Doors of January that seemed to echo similar thoughts. 

 

From The Ten Thousand Doors of January:

The will to be polite, to maintain civility and normalcy, is fearfully strong. I wonder sometimes how much evil is permitted to run unchecked simply because it would be rude to interrupt it.

From (sort of) Martin Luther King Jr.: 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

 

As I chopped and stirred and taste-tested, wispy thoughts materialized into substantive ideas.

Here’s the thing:

I am very polite and kind and nice and all that.

Here’s the other thing:

I don’t plan on changing that part of me.

 

However.

I also know that sometimes I am quiet when I want to speak.

Sometimes I sit when I want to stand.

Sometimes I watch when I want to act.

 

One of the most thoughtful gifts anyone gave me for Christmas was an essential oil blend from Amélie. The blend is chamomile, peppermint, and rosemary, and while it smells good, she bought it for me because it is supposedly meant to open up the throat chakra:

 

The fifth chakra, the throat, represents our ability to communicate. […] When in balance, we can express our truth without worrying what others may think. 

 

I almost cried when I read that description on Christmas morning. 

Amélie knows I have a hard time expressing my truth. She knows I worry what others may think. 

The point, for sure, is not whether or not this particular essential oil blend will open my throat chakra and help me speak my truth. I am quite certain that it is going to take a lot more than chamomile and peppermint and rosemary to accomplish this. In fact, I am pretty sure it’s going to take a massive dose of courage.

It’s going to take stepping through a door…

…and knowing that “when one enters a door, one must be brave enough to see the other side” (Alix E. Harrow, The Ten Thousand Doors of January)

 

I suppose (actually I know) this is why I write. I write to find the doors. I write to open them. I write to be brave enough to step through them.

So that’s what I’m thinking about this evening.

I want to open doors of dark and light and shadow
doors pushed ajar when
just enough bravery is mustered
doors that fling wide a world of transcendent beauty, daring truth, and restorative kindness.

 

Doors, he told her, are change, and change is a dangerous necessity. Doors are revolutions and upheavals, uncertainties and mysteries, axis points around which entire worlds can be turned.

Alix E. Harrow, The Ten Thousand Doors of January

 

I hope you find your door.

I will leave mine open a crack, with a lantern burning on the other side, in case you want to follow me through mine. 

 

These doors will sing. Silent siren songs for those who seek what lies behind them. For those who feel homesick for a place they’ve never been to. Those who seek even if they do not know what (or where) it is that they are seeking. Those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

― Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea

 

Sentences may alter the weather, and poems might tear down walls. Stories may change the world.

Alix E. Harrow, The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Happy door hunting.

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Julie on January 21, 2020 at 3:45 am

    Gorgeous. All of it.

    • Jill Clingan on January 21, 2020 at 3:52 am

      Thanks, Julie. That means a lot, coming from you. ❤️

  2. Lúcia Bodeman on January 21, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Wow, this is all so beautiful–and it strikes a bone. I love that both books have such an important message, and I will certainly check them out to open up some new doors for myself this new year! xx

    • Jill Clingan on January 21, 2020 at 12:54 pm

      Let me know what you think when you read them, Lu! I hope you thoroughly enjoy them as much as I did. They are just lovely.

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