Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sunday Scribblings: The book that changed everything

This weeks Sunday Scribblings prompt is absolutely wonderful:

#206 - The book that changed everything

Is there a book that you read at a particular time in your life that changed everything for you? Is there a book you think should be written that would change everything? Words have an incredible power if they are read/ heard by the right person at the right time. What collection of words has been powerful for you?

I love this one!

During my junior year in high school, I found myself living within more than one world. In one, I belonged to contentment and mirth and in the other, to daydream and illusion. In those days, I found comfort crossing the thin line between reality and delusion. This was the perfect time to discover one of my absolute favorite authors, till this day, Neil Gaiman. A close friend of mine introduced me to the Endless, immortal siblings in Gaiman's graphic novel The Sandman: Brief Lives, a world of twisted mythology, gods and demons, confusion and reality, chaos and existence. Quite certain that this was a reflection of my own world, I easily fell in love with the siblings of the Endless: Dream, Death, Destiny, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium.

Brief Lives takes the reader though a bittersweet story full of choices and consequences, loyalty to family and mortal responsibility. Destruction, the missing brother of the Endless, chose to leave behind his cosmic chores, 300 years ago, for a simpler life; one or mortal duties. Delirium, the youngest of the Endless, is intent on finding him, but Destruction has no desire to be found. He has adopted the idea that mankind does a fine job destroying things without him; his realm is no longer necessary. Delirium, who only wants her family to return to the way it was in the days of more delight, asks all of her siblings to accompany her on this journey. Dream, the Sandman, is the only sibling who accepts her invitation, as he is dealing with the devastation of a lost love and is in need of a break from his worries and woes.

In this volume of The Sandman series, Delirium is forced to recognize that the Universe is changing. "...she was growing up or at least growing older...she was no longer Delight; and the blossoms had already begun to fall in her domain, becoming smudged and formless colors and she had no one to talk to..." In so many ways, my own light had become smeared and deluded.
The Sandman , in it's own epic reality, has always exposed tragedy and humor. As Delirium struggles with the idea that she must except change in her own realm, throughout her journey she is able to enjoy moments with her beloved siblings, their words and their wisdom. We are able to experience the idea of 'brief lives' at the end of an awkward dinner, where Delirium walks away from her meal, a pair of chocolate people, and we see the food has suddenly identified a sense of life through her transcendent touch. As the Endless brother and sister turn their backs, Gaiman, so exquisitely writes, "Touched by her fingers, the two surviving chocolate people copulate desperately, losing themselves in a melting frenzy of lust, spending the last of their brief borrowed lives in a spasm of raspberry cream and fear.” One of my favorite descriptions in this issue, this line clearly helps us recognize the idea of our lives within this brief dream. We are granted time, and not much of it. And change is inevitable because life is equal parts bliss, absurd, and awful.

Years ago, The Sandman became my dream away from dreams. And to this day, he still comes to me in so many unforeseeable ways.


  1. Books take us to places we'd never otherwise go.

  2. WOW! Enjoyed this considerably – thank you for sharing…
    Image & Verse

  3. whoa, that is such a different book - sideways and intruging

  4. This book looks amazing! Another to put on my to read list.

  5. Archna, I'm going to give this one a try.
    I'm excited!