The The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy

18 July 2016

I just finished a novel that I greatly enjoyed.  I mean the plot line wasn't like a page turner, but the language and writing was mesmerizing for me.  I am a lover of writing that really resonates.  Here are some pieces of the book that I jotted down because I loved the author's formation of thoughts:


It doesn't take long to divide an old life from a new life -- a few minutes, not even that.  One quick, unfair blow, and you find yourself looking back across the uncrossable, to a place that can't ever be reached again, despite the fact you were there-- brushing your teeth or reading a paper or wondering where you left your umbrella--just a moment ago.  But that's over, the kind, old life, and you have to go out into the unknown, unbalanced world, where everything important is wrong.  People vanish, the scenery changes.  Things you loved become meaningless, and meaningless stays the same.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
--F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (quot at the start of a chapter)

We shared a family outline but it was colored in differently.  I was dark-haired, Theo was bright-haired.  My eyes were opaque; hers as sheer and ingenuous as a gas flame.  I followed familiar laws and rules; sow and reap, action and reaction, inspiration and perspiration.  Whereas Theo--Theo's motives were a mystery, even to herself.

(About his interest in a girl)  I sensed that rushing things would be a mistake.  I'd take the Grandmother's Footsteps approach -- softly, softly, but always moving forward.

I had been going through a phase of dating psychology students, but they turned out to be just the same as everyone else;  hurried, worried, vibrating with effort.

It reminded me of when I was very young and used to watch commercials instead of television shows.  It was the bright cleanness of the world, the simplicity; where triumph could be found in a soufflĂ© or a flowering border.  She watched it with absorption.

"I'm so sorry you have had to deal with this,"  I said.  The room was crushingly warm; too pink, too dense.  I stood up, with the sudden need to put as much distance as possible between myself and the healthy brown-haired girl, her tears dropping with energy; I would contaminated her somehow just by being near her, exposing her to the fumes from my nuclear heart, the dead river of my blood.

I never had to engage with the financial process of life, the cold, hurtful sale and exchange that drives people out of bed, lashes them into their suits, confronts them with a glimmering screen, sends them home late and tired, presents them with the paper and the plastic at the end, to spend.  I did all that because I wanted to.  Now I found I didn't want to anymore.

Upward and onward,

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