I think the best fiction, no matter the genre, has moments of beautiful perfect clarity that feel like a palm to the forehead. That flash of recognition mixed with understanding nestled into the page of someone else’s story that helps you see your own world a little more clearly. I love that shit. Seriously.
And to be honest, I almost always find these little gifts in the pages of my favorite authors’ books. But the one that’s stuck with me forever–well over twenty years now–is this little gem from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.
“He had noticed that events were cowards: they didn’t occur singly, but instead they would run in packs and leap out at him all at once.”
I remember exactly where I was when I read it–in a long drive-thru line at a McDonald’s with two hungry, screaming toddlers in the backseat and a dangerously low-level of patience and sanity. I was completely overwhelmed by literally everything because at the time, my life was a shit sundae. And all I could think was, Oh my god…Richard. Richard Mayhew understands me on a spiritual level.
Is that the most profound of all of the lessons I’ve learned? Nah. But it is the first time I’ve ever felt simultaneously called out and supported by a character whose life couldn’t be more different if we tried. To me, those character connections are priceless, and I try to savor them.
Be sure you check out Gwen’s post and see what lesson she learned.