Monday, April 24, 2006

Insomnia Pt III

Insomnia is back again. I wish I knew why it kept returning. I've lowered my caffeine intake and don't drink any after supper, and still here I am again. Sleep is such a blessing. It's truly an amazing process how the brain uses the downtime to sort through all of the garbage we've accumulated throughout the day and filters out what to keep and what to toss. I love dreaming. Sometimes I have absolutely frightful ones, but those are few and far between. Instead I tend to dream the first chapter of a novel and upon wakening I know exactly how it's going to end. I have pages and pages of notes and outlines written shortly after waking that include characters, their histories, settings, climactic twists, all sorts of great stuff. Now if I could only get the stuff typed up in a form where other people could read it... And there in lies the rub. I'm tired; this isn't supposed to make sense. Please keep that in mind as you read my barely lucid ramblings this evening. Mia banged her head into my glasses, bending them, so I have to tilt my head just so back and forth to read the letters as they type across the page. Altogether, not the ideal writing situation. So instead of more whining about my lack of sleep: a book review.

The Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky is another great book by a great author. I truly enjoyed his others books Cod and Salt (especially Salt, which shouldn't be missed). His love for the Basque people shone through in both of those previous books as he devotes sections to them in each. This book was his great opportunity to share his love for the people with the world and help us to gain a greater understanding for this nation of people without borders who have clung to their languages and their land through thousands of years of occupations and wars. The beginning of the book starts well describing the Basque people and their reported origins and includes interesting tidbits about their biology (40% type O blood), but there are no real answers. There are interesting quirky recipes I can't imagine anyone actually trying, but they are lovely to read. The middle of the book slows down as Kurlansky gives special attention to the plight of the Basques during World War II, especially the bombing of Guernica, and the rise of Franco to power. I can feel Kurlansky's love for these people, and so his passion spills across each page as he describes the struggles the Basques went through under Franco, but much of the book slogs down under the political manipulations, and part of beauty of the book slips away. At the end Kurlansky returns to the stories of the individuals who make up the Basque nation and gives a feeling of hope for them. Ultimately the reader feels as though they have spent time in the country, seen some customs, met some fascinating people, and learned a little about their history, but now the vacation is over and it's time to return to the real world, unable to truly grasp what it really means to be Basque. And I think that just how a Basque would want it.

I'm currently reading A Darker Place by Laurie R. King and Brian McLaren's new book The Secret Message of Jesus. And the stack next to my bed has grown again. How I was to know that three books would come in over the weekend, and that historical tell-all about the Pony Express looked too good to put down...

We're really working on potty-training Mia this week, say a prayer for all of us, including the carpeting!