Crying In My Car. Again.
There are few things that make me just stop what I’m doing and listen. I’m easily distracted (hush, you), and I’m visual, so my mind will wander when I listen to an audio book.
There used to be more — I used to drive longer distances where I needed to fill the silence and distance with a story. Every trip back and forth to Boston would end with sitting in a driveway, waiting for the big reveal in a murder mystery. But I don’t have those trips much anymore. My audio books are reserved now for walks, and the occasional dash down to my mom’s.
The last time I was really obsessed with a story that I just HAD to hear was when I heard Hamilton for the first time. I spent an unseemly amount of time in the parking lot of Harris Teeter, not willing to stop listening long enough to get eggs, or milk, or whatever it was that seemed important until I hit “play”, and then nothing else mattered. I sat outside my house, sobbing, when his son died. And then I just drove. I had to know what happened. I had to hear the story.
Getting lost — truly lost — in someone else’s words, in the sound of another voice, is one of the great pleasures of life. Being able to fully inhabit a different world — it’s amazing. That word sounds so trite, but I mean it in the truest sense. That one can be filled so completely with someone else’s emotions is truly incredible.
So when it happens, when I find a story that becomes more than just a story — it is something akin to a moral imperative to let others know it exists. It’s The Good Word. Well, it’s MY Good Word.
The last two days, I have done little else besides find excuses to walk around with a pair of headphones on, listening to Natalie Haynes read her book, A Thousand Ships. It’s the story of the women in the Battle of Troy, all the women. And it’s beautiful and tragic and funny and real, and you will finish it wanting — begging for- more, just one more chapter with Calliope, who just rolls her eyes, or Cassandra, whom you want to hug, or Penelope — oh I LOVED Penelope. Marriage to Odysseus was, well, frustrating, to say the least.
I am going to buy the hardback, because it will go into permanent residence in my personal library. But this is a story meant to be heard, not read. Haynes is a performer, and this isn’t just a story, it’s an experience. It’s theater.