Rumi-nating Thoughts

I’m a terrible poet. Absolute rubbish. But I love to listen to it. I can sit and listen to the spoken words of poetry for hours (though I haven’t been able to for years because I’ve been living in the bush… but all of that’s about to change as of next week!).

Rumi

Rumi

While I love listening to poetry, I rarely ever read it, let alone buy it. But today, while working on my structural edit for my forthcoming novel, The Tea Chest, sitting in the lovely Rosetta Books at Maleny, a book off the shelf caught my eye. (I believe books often choose us, not the other way around, and this one certainly did.) It was Rumi, the book of love, a collection of writings and poetry from the 13th century Sufi poet, Jalaluddin Rumi. (I think he may have been ‘trendy’ for a while but I’m generally a few years behind trends. Don’t come to me if you’re looking for the latest cool thing.)

And what a charming little book it is.

Something I love so much about poetry is the way it frees the mind from structural concerns, bends our thoughts and clashes words together in a way that is so fresh and fascinating. I think it bypasses are critical minds and heads straight to the emotions.

I’ve been hopping my way through the book, opening pages randomly. Here are just a few gems that have made me laugh, long and melt.

The ground’s generosity takes in our compost

and grows beauty. Try to be

more like the ground.

You’re song;

a wished-for song.

Put seeds and cover them.

Blades will sprout

where you do your work.

Drive slowly. Some of us

walking alongside are lame.

Keep walking, though there is no place to get to.

Books as Prescription Medicine

This is precisely why I write books: to make people feel good.

Books like (legal) brownies for all!

Books like (legal) brownies for all!

I love this story.  From May this year, ‘Books on Prescription’ will begin in the UK, with doctors able to ‘prescribe’ a book to assist a patient and improve their mood. The books include both non-fiction and fiction, as well as poetry. It’s also hoped the scheme could help the struggling libraries. Win-win. How wonderful!

In the first couple of months after my baby was born, life was pretty insane in our house. Something I missed the most was reading and it was only when I began to learn how to get the reading time back into my life that I started to feel normal again. I always read before going to sleep, something that’s a very powerful mood producing activity for me. I literally feel stressed if I don’t have a good book nearby to delve into.

But it has to be the right kind of book. For me, there’s no point in reading something angst-ridden, violent, negative, sarcastic or miserable in order to feel better. Uplifting, comforting, engaging and fun–that’s what I want to read and that’s what I want to write.

My contemporary fiction novel, The Tea Chest, about three Australian women thrust together in a bid to sell tea to the English, will be out in 2014. And if you’re looking for something to make you feel good (a book that reads like a chocolate brownie tastes) then it might just be the book for you.

Read a book to feel better. Hooray!