The first fiction book I’ve read in a decade

I’m not quite halfway through a book called Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  I’m so enjoying this book!!!  It’s the first fiction book I’ve read in a decade (not an exaggeration).  Now, if you’re not into the dark side of imagination, I wouldn’t recommend it.  Neil Gaiman writes dark stuff.  I’ll gladly take the sinister dreams I have from reading his novel than the PTSD nightmares I’ve earned any night, though.  The type of fiction that Neil Gaiman writes is easy to read, intriguing, and best of all, makes his books real page-turners.  I read over 150 pages of this novel yesterday.  I couldn’t put it down!!!  It’s disturbing and it churns up the darkness in your own imagination – it gets at what you yourself are really afraid of – and that’s great writing.  His style of writing has fantastic character development because he leaves just enough of the story to your imagination to really make it your own story in one way or another.  There’s someone for everyone to identify with, or some horror or disgust to which everyone can relate.  I love this book because, so far, it’s kindled and awakened MY imagination, which is something that I usually only apply to practical real-world problems.  It’s been such a long while since I’ve read a work of fiction because most of them do all the work for me and are dull.  Neil Gaiman’s writing is so far from that!  It’s exciting to that dark side that most of us would rather not admit we have.  He paints enough of the picture for you to allow your own imagination to take over from there and lead you down your own dark tunnels, and in a very few choice words – his choice of language is superb – yanks you down a detour that goes to an even darker place within your psyche.  You really feel this book.  It’s visceral.  It’s got real characters, real people in it, in real situations that are as terrifying as your own mind can make them.  Neil Gaiman gets you started down the path, and your own mind takes that final step into the darkness of detail that only a good writer can open up for you.  The world that Neil Gaiman creates in Neverwhere is one you may never return from…

Another thing that I like about this novel is that it’s the Author’s Preferred Text edition of the book.  Neil Gaiman’s book has gone through so many printings – all different depending upon what someone else wanted – that it’s evidently almost a different story altogether depending on which one you read.  This edition is how Neil Gaiman intended the story to be told, and I love it.  I read the alternate prologue at the back of the book before reading the standard prologue and it’s made all the difference thus far.  It set the tone perfectly to add more depth to the darkness.  There’s more material included in the back of the book that will add depth to the story later on as well, as that part of the story takes shape.  I’m really looking forward to it!!!

What does this have to do with climbing?  Well, if something sparks my imagination, that translates into a more active mind for climbing in me.  It gives me something to think about between climbs or during rest periods that refreshes my mind for the “onsight mentality”.  I look at the climb anew each time I attempt it, and that lends itself well to the stress relief that I get from climbing.  If I can see the problem or route anew each time I attempt it, that sets me up to be in the present moment with the next hold and focus on the next hold.  It sets me up to climb harder and better because my mental activity is provoked to concentrated action and effort.  It’s great!!!  I can look forward to my entire day!!!

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