Sunshine & Chocolate & Everything Writing

Writing as if I have something to say.

Comfort-words

Posted by Line Larsen on September 1, 2008

It started as a casual search. I ran my finger along the shelves, peering at each title, smiling as I recognized some of them and making a disgruntled face at others. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I knew what needs it would have to fulfill. Nothing pleased me, as of yet.

All of a sudden it came to me.

I wanted that book written in the 50’s some time, with the three short stories making up a novel, by that Norwegian author I love so much. That one and nothing else. My seek became more pointed. I finished with the shelves, it wasn’t there, and moved on to the floor. Not there either. The kitchen? No. Maybe the bedroom? Nowhere. Slowly, but suddenly, desperation hit. I had to have that book.

There are some stories I come back to, again and again. I never start a new novel if I’m in a bad mood, I always choose one of my old favourites. It can be compared to talking to a friend or getting a hug from a family member, known and safe. No surprises, but exactly how I like it in every way.

A comfort-book can be recognized by four requirements.

  1. I have read it before and enjoyed it.

  2. The characters are overall likeable and the kind of people I would feel comfortable around.

  3. The novel is fairly simple, both in storyline and sentence structure. Not a challenging or provoking read, in other words.

  4. It should have a happy ending.

My many comfort-books have gotten me through several hard times in my life. I dive into someone’s make-believe life and fill my head with their thoughts and actions, all familiar to me already. It replaces my own worries and neurotic ramblings. I depend on it.

But there I was… Desperation had hit. I knew exactly what book I wanted, but it was lost and I had to be realistic. Continuing the search at 2 am on a Sunday evening would border on insanity. So… I turned to my comfort-author instead. The man who has been there for me ever since I was a teenager, made me laugh, made me think and gently sent me off to sleep with a book over my face night after night: Terry Pratchett.

I snuggled up with “Night Watch” and smiled. Life was alright again.

Thank you to Carrot for inspiring this entry.

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