Of soul authors and dreams

Is there something like a ‘soul author’? An author who seems to know your very soul, and who has put down your exact feelings in his/her book? When you read their book, you feel like you are reading something that you yourself have written – secret longings lodged so deep in your heart that you yourself don’t know they exist, little unspoken-of dreams, and the memories that took root in your heart in childhood and grew and grew into a tree so that you cannot escape the allure of certain things even in your adulthood, things that might appear mundane or even weird to some other people?

I seem to have found my soul author in Frances Mayes, after Robert James Waller. Mayes seem to know me – the real me – and more than once, I have found the writing on my very soul in her books. How does she know that as a child, I used to stare out of train windows too, gaze longingly at the farmhouses on the way, and think: ‘Who lives in these houses?’ How does she know that I am a dreamer too, a big-time one, and put in words exactly my feelings about the places that she wants to travel to? How does her idea of nothingness and living in the moment, of travel and travel destinations so exactly match mine? How does she know that I love making up stories about the people that we notice around us, an activity in which my husband eagerly joins in?

Mayes is living my dream – of buying an old house in a distant but beautiful country, to convert it into a home, and build a life there, and of travelling to the heart’s content. My love affair with her books started with her Under The Tuscan Sun and then, grew some more with her A Year In The World. Now, it is at a peak with my current read, her Bella Tuscany. She sounds to me like a wise elder sister, who pacifies and soothes me with her words, and makes me dream beautiful dreams about the future. My connection with Mayes and her books goes on deepening, book after lovely book.

Mayes is making me dream like no one else. Just yesterday, the OH asked me: ‘You are drowned in your book, so much so that you didn’t even respond to me when I asked you something. What is it about this author’s books that enchants you so much?’ And I told him all of this. I told him about the longing in my heart to travel every nook and cranny of the whole wide world, and that Mayes’ longing to do the same speaks to me. I told him of the dream that I have of living in a rambling European countryside house, writing at my desk by the window from which I can look out to see the pretty pink blossoms of a tree, the well in the street beyond, and the women in black-and-white gowns drawing water from the well, keeping an eye on their children out on the street, playing. All the while, my brown Labrador would lie at my feet. I told the OH of my dream of baking bread at home with the neighbourhood women, them teaching me how to make yeast rise, while I told them of the magic of phulka rotis and corn-on-the-cob from my land.

This is another reason why I love books – because often I am surprised to find so much of myself in them, and because they make me dream of faraway places and of falling in love with them.

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24 thoughts on “Of soul authors and dreams

  1. Lovely! I share some of your dreams, can’t say all of them. But yes, I hear you when you talk about some authors living that very dream πŸ™‚ May yours also come true some day.

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  2. I understand exactly what you mean… I felt the same when I read your post. πŸ™‚ I haven’t found a soul author myself, but I’m definitely going to buy a Frances Mayes book next. Thanks!

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  3. Lovely post! I am glad you’ve found authors who truly speak to you. When there’s a meeting of minds between author and reader, it is very wonderful. When a great writer artfully expresses what’s also in your soul, we’ll experience the universal on a personal level.

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  4. Such a lovely post! Frances Mayes’ books are wonderful. I loved “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “A Year in the World” too – must check out “Bella Tuscany” at the earliest opportunity!

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    1. @Smitha

      You’ve got to read him! I am so sure you’ll love him too. Here’s a Wiki link for reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_James_Waller

      If you ask me for one book recommendation of his, I would say The Bridges of Madison County. I feel it is one of the most sensitively written books, though it is basically a romance novel. He makes me want to meet him in person and just keep talking to him. The Bridges of Madison County is one of my favourite books, one I can’t stop recommending to people, like 84, Charing Cross Road and Under The Tuscan Sun. πŸ™‚

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      1. I didn’t like Robert James Waller’s other books too much, but I loved Madison County. The author says it is fiction, though it seemed to be far from fiction to me. It felt like the author was narrating his very own story in this book, I don’t know why. I had a very strong sense of that. Do let me know if you also feel so when you read the book. πŸ™‚

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      2. Oh right! I have read Bridges of Madison County – but I think over 20 years ago – I loved it then πŸ™‚ As a teenager πŸ™‚ Will check out his other books – for some reason, those days, I did not pick up his other books – or did we not have it in my school lib – not sure. But I had LOVED bridges of Madison county. Should re-read it actually πŸ™‚

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  5. ‘This is another reason why I love books – because often I am surprised to find so much of myself in them, and because they make me dream of faraway places and of falling in love with them.’ – Couldn’t agree more TGND! Even as a child, burying my head in a book meant being transported to a world far away – a world that was waiting for me.

    Reading A year in the world is making me yearn to see those places, to eat what they are eating, and to just take off for a while. May be one day I will πŸ™‚

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  6. Can I say ‘me too’ for this

    ‘I used to stare out of train windows too, gaze longingly at the farmhouses on the way, and think: β€˜Who lives in these houses?’ How does she know that I am a dreamer too, a big-time one, and put in words exactly my feelings about the places that she wants to travel to? How does her idea of nothingness and living in the moment, of travel and travel destinations so exactly match mine?’!

    Am reading A year in the world, and I have to say, I felt the same way!!!!!

    Now off to read the rest of the post πŸ™‚

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  7. Awww! loved loved loved this one πŸ™‚ I can so understand what you are saying..though honestly I dont have a soul author…I seem to go through phases of this one and that one..but I loved this post of yours

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