by Paul Noth of The New Yorker

if you’re not familiar with the fellow in the stripy top, may I introduce you? Waldo in the States and Canada, Wally in the UK. in the series of children’s books created by Martin Handford, each double-page spread chock full of people and incident and one funny man in a red and white top, bobble hat and glasses. in a rare exception to my finding all puzzles an irritating waste of time, I have been known to lose a good number of minutes searching for him in a book found abandoned by someone else on the breakfast table, with Cheerios used as temporary book mark.

for a really long time I have been charging about looking for who I really am. frivolous student? hardworking career woman? wife? mother? new career as exotic dancer? (not that. you know. anonymity blah blah) and, most lately, booze hound, unreformed or reformed?

wiggling the letters about a bit, lately. not where. not who. how.

dive bombing into therapy, then a fabulous sober meet-up, followed by a Big Talk with Mr P about my drinking have left HMS Primrose listing heavily on some choppy and introspective seas.

this, for example – David Whyte on the nature of honesty – is the sort of light reading that has been going on round here recently. I’ve linked to it rather than including an extract firstly because although there are some concepts in there I’ve found very valuable, it’s quite heavy going and perhaps not the best thing if you’re feeling at all fragile. and also because it focuses heavily on loss and pain. and however much the darker, more pessimistic side of my mind tries to shut them out, joy and hope keep elbowing their way into the non-alcoholic cocktail party of my life – those most welcome, always, of gatecrashers.

if those novel guests show up at your party today – don’t ignore them as strangers or show them the door. welcome them with open arms. give them a mince pie. and then, maybe, they will take off their coats and make themselves comfortable in your life? perhaps they will stay?