Sunday, 23 March 2008

A Deeply Cracked Easter

Sunny, cold, highs minus 9

Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.
Leonard Cohen

How can you not love a guy who wrote that? Actually I used that quote in A Fatal Grace – as part of Clara’s art.

Happy Easter.

I once said that on air at CBC radio and a listener called in to lambast me and point out that this is not a happy day. Christ was crucified on this day. I was about 21 years old and deeply sorry I’d offended someone. So I apologized on air. It was only decades later I realized I didn’t agree with that assessment. But I believe what makes this holiday so special isn’t that Christ was crucified, but that he rose.

This is a holiday of hope. And how can that not be happy?

Indeed, it’s such fun to be speaking to you on this day. This is exactly the time when my latest book, The Cruelest Month, is set. Over the Easter holiday. In my book it’s a very late Easter – being a movable feast I did my goddess thing and moved it to late April. So that the spring bulbs would just be poking out. A promise. But fragile, vulnerable. And in the book we find out what happens to anything that exposes itself too much and too soon.

In the words of Shakespeare’s Wolsley’s Farewell (a wonderful speech): A killing frost. It nips his bud. And then he falls, as I do.

In the book there’s a killing frost – both physically and psychologically. Aimed at a villager in Three Pines, but also at Chief Inspector Gamache.

Spring is an unsettling season – and Easter an unsettling time. As one of the characters says – not everything is meant to come back to life. Not everything that rises up is a miracle.

I hope you enjoy reading The Cruelest Month as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s about murder, of course, being a murder mystery. But at its heart it’s about second chances, and redemption.

Here’s to our cracks, and the hope and compassion that springs from them.

4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Amazing that you find time to write on Easter Sunday. No Easter egg hunts this year of the unending winter. Bill, Isabel and I will be leaving shortly for Christ Church Cathedral, where the men and boys will sound glorious and I will feel sad that James won't be with us. It's the first time he's been away from home for a major holiday and since he spent five years as a chorister at Washington National Cathedral (a 15 hour per week obligation) the day has a special poignancy. I am focusing on the fact that I will see him later in the week when I visit Toronto to hear him sing Evensong as a bass with the Trinity College Chapel Choir. Wonder how your diet is surviving the day. Wishing you joy.

Anonymous said...

Easter is a happy Celebration -- it is at the centre of the Christian faith that Christ died for our sins and was resurrected to life everlasting. The day of his crucifixion is solemn (and always bad weather, like Remembrance Day) but three days later he rose again, fulfilling the promise of his birth, making Easter at least as happy a celebration as Christmas. Feel sorry for that listener, just a sourpuss incapable of joy.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear elizabeth,

How lovely to hear from you- and what a picture you gave us of your family - present and missing, and your joy and heart ache. What a beautiful voice James must have!

Our diets fared well until today and the attack of the chocolate bunnies. And the eggs.

Oh well, seems our weight too will rise up.

Louise

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Anon,

thank you! Glad to have my suspicions that Easter wasn't about gloom confirmed. And I also appreciate your word 'solemn' - that's the word I've been searching for for years to describe Good Friday. Thank you.

And Happy Easter.

Louise