>> Monday, June 23, 2014
Between the pages are the effects of this war common to man: fuel shortages, blackouts and rationing, how to deal with a lack of personal hygiene products and pet food. But the ringing message of the book is that you cannot live constantly in a state of emergency in your mind. You must declare your mental independence and maintain whatever normal pursuits you can. This resonated with me because of our own struggles during the recession. I came to similar conclusions working to keep my own table interesting and feeding our spirits as well as our stomachs. I love this passage about cheese, which was almost impossible to obtain, so to be used with wisdom:
"Try it on a tired factory worker some day, or a nervous neighbor, with a glass of milk if possible or a cup of tea, and watch the unfolding of a lot of spiritual tendrils that were drawn up into a tight heedless tangle... I have seen it work miracles of restoration." (p. 341 italics added)
"I cannot count the good people I know who, to my mind, would be even better if they bent their spirits to the study of their own hungers."(p.350)
"I believe that one of the most dignified ways we are capable of to assert and then reassert our dignity in the face of poverty and war's fears and pains is to nourish ourselves with all possible skill, delicacy and ever-increasing enjoyment. And with our gastronomical growth will come, inevitably, knowledge and perception of a hundred other things, but mainly of ourselves. Then Fate, even tangled as it is with cold wars as well as hot, cannot harm us." (p.350)
I am grateful for this book. It has been affirming of my own path through troubles. To her hearty voice and keep-up-the-good-work attitude, I say Amen.