Human Puzzle is a short story that says that e were told that Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus to listen to his every word, had chosen a better part than Martha, who was working away in the kitchen cleaning up and preparing food. Following on from that example, we convent girls believed that the nuns who stayed in an enclosed order praying day and night were superior to those in the world, working with the poor and the sick. In my seventieth year, I finished my first novel. Writing it turned out to be such a rewarding process that I wished I had”t waited so long to surround myself with imaginary friends and manipulate their lives into stories.
After marrying my Irishman it took me five years to become a mother. I spent those five years thinking. That’s what married women did in those days while they waited. In the end, I was lucky to have a boy and a girl. Rearing them would be my life”s work, so I thought. Those early years were absorbing, fulfilling and busy and I presumed they would go on forever. But after a while I noticed something completely unexpected happening. As each year passed things became easier. Measurably easier. By the time both children were at school full time I had lots more time for thinking. HumaPuzzle
Moving to Ireland
Most adults I knew in Australia went to bed at eight o’clock and rose with the sun at six, so Ireland’s customs had come as a surprise to me when I first arrived in this country and saw people waiting until after ten to head out to meet their friends. The only time they saw the sunrise was after they stayed up the whole night and happened to notice it on their way home. Australians didn’t”t talk much and were able to fix things.
The Irish were eloquent talkers who would get a man in to adjust the irregularity in the plumbing rather than attempting to fix it themselves. When the sun comes up early in Australia it draws you from your bed and doesn’t”t leave you alone, compelling you out of doors where you do exhaust things all day, preferably in the water, leaving you just enough time to tinker with your car engine to have it ready for the morning, before going straight to bed for an early night. In Ireland during the long cold nights of winter what is there to do but congregate in a warm place and swap stories until after midnight? Was it climate and geography that created differences between nations, I wondered.
Religion Human Puzzle
The evangelical puritan thinks that life after death is the only life of value and lives this one full of deprivation and suffering, even to the point of offering up his life or taking the life of another to clock up credit in his account in the heavens. A form of spiritual avarice.
Could religion be the predominant shaping force of nations? People in countries that are rich in oil, minerals and primary produce may lead destitute lives if the wealth is syphoned off by the powerful few at the top. Are economics or politics the most important factor in the welfare of a country? As with nations, could it also be with people?
Understanding Human Puzzle
I thought about the lives of those around me and summoned up the lives of those I had left behind. Trying to work out the mysteries of human behaviour, prompted by a fascination with the manifestations of evolutionary biology. Why were some people predominately ethical, likeable, bossy, depressed, generous, needy, ambitious, tolerant, avaricious, illogical, self-righteous, altruistic, selfish or optimistic. While others people showed the opposite characteristics? Most fascinating of all was trying to fathom the rules of the mating game.
Why on earth did he choose her, why would a young woman marry an old man? Why did things fall apart? Why would the daughter of an alcoholic marry an alcoholic when you would think she would run in the opposite direction? Whenever she met one, why did he take as a spouse? A queen bee he was half afraid of, and why was that pair a perfect match? What part did class, power, money and looks play in the selection of a partner? I didn’t come to any definite conclusions but was left with a consuming interest in nature versus nurture debate. Which is a good interest to have if you want to write a novel. I enjoyed all that thinking at the time. But I wonder if I would have been better off with more doing and less thinking. Hmmm.