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The Many Lives of Nora Seed...

Carey Mulligan’s Audible rendition of The Midnight Library has re-entered my life once again. I first listened to this novel well over two years ago, shortly after it was released in 2020. Something about her narration and “the many lives of Nora Seed” utterly captured my heart and attentions. I’d never heard of Matt Haig, the author. I’ve often thought of writing him a thank you note, so grateful am I for the impact this book has had on my life and awareness of possibilities within it.

Not every one encounters the novel in this fashion, I know. A small group of new friends and I engaged the text over a Zoom chat in midsummer 2020. From them, I saw how depressed and depressing Nora Seed is. Was. I could hear her whining and resisting life, even though what was before her wasn’t the level of suffering others in human form have known intimately.

Another reader in my family really struggled with precisely what I loved about the plot: endless choices that had life-altering impact. How does one choose? How does one open to the endless choices before us? I can now see how this story feels one way during middle age, another way closer to the end of one’s life. Seen in retrospective, the story could incite more regret, not the possibilities or freedom to lessen it. (Carey Mulligan pictured here).

I’m not sure what all about the storyline and narration that captured me so, but I’ve probably listened to it over ten times. I’d put it on the car when I was running errands, or going to visit Dutchess, or coming back from CrossFit. I would hear the flow of words differently, with different nuances, depending upon my own state of mind. And it opened something in me, again and again.

I credit this story for inspiring me to take the CrossFit Level 1 training seminar, Sept 2021, for instance. It had been something completely out of reach for me, in my sense of self. But the “many lives of Nora Seed” suggested me in another life, making different choices, could include it. I registered, attended, and even passed the exam! I’m now a Level 1 CF coach, if I wanted to practice in some affiliate (which I don’t).

So…Brian was willing to listen into the novel on our drive to Minnesota yesterday, beginning midway with Nora’s choice of “a successful life,” as she had imagined it from her regrets. We got to companion her as she discovered that this “successful life” was not a happy one, nor one in which her choices were what she actually wanted, in the end.

I love having Mulligan’s narrated Nora Seed in my mind and heart as we travel into vacation days. I can already feel the sacramental quality of slower pace, deeper listening, and signs/seals of grace promised…when one opens to possibility and hope more than fear, duty.

We’ll see if Brian finds his way here too…

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