The Hurting Time

October 11, 2017

I just read a wonderful novel called The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. I read a passage that was so insightful, so appropriate for anyone experiencing grief that I felt the need to share it with all of you. We are all reeling from another mass casualty event, 58 people dead and scores injured; and those survivors that are experiencing survivor’s guilt will experience grief as real as those who lost loved ones. So I offer Nina George’s words as a balm:

            “Do you know that there’s a halfway world between each ending and each new beginning? It’s called the hurting time. It’s a bog; it’s where your dreams and worries and forgotten plans gather. Your steps are heavier during that time. Don’t underestimate the transition between farewell and new departure. Give yourself the time you need. Some thresholds are too wide to be taken in one stride.”

I loved this book. It has in turn made me both laugh and cry. It is both new and timeless. And I dragged my feet reading it, as I didn’t want it to end. It makes me want to fly to France, rent a car and take my husband on an unplanned adventure. We have both lost loved ones and experienced The Hurting Time, and sometimes I’m not sure we’ve yet made it all the way over that wide threshold. But we, wisely, continue to give ourselves the time we need.

The premise of this novel is that books are medicine for the heart and the soul. That’s a thought that makes me happy and makes sense to me. And the author included recipes at the end. Food is often the medicine that, at least in my world, feeds not just the body but also the heart and soul. She included a recipe for Pistou, a French version of Pesto that is wonderful in soups and on pasta, even on crusty bread. Here is a simple version of mine:

Garlic Pistou

6 medium garlic cloves, peeled

1-16 oz. can of diced tomatoes, drained

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

30 fresh basil leaves, washed and dried

¼ c. Parmesan, grated

Put the garlic and tomatoes in a blender or food processor with about 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Begin processing. With the machine running, add the basil leaves and parmesan, and then pour in enough extra-virgin olive oil to make a smooth, thick, but fluid paste.

What feeds the heart and soul better than soup, pasta or bread? Hmm, I think maybe garlic and Parmesan should be on that list, too.



PS: This weeks Standard Time’s article is on Paella, which was posted here in September. For a refresher on the recipe click here.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Melon October 11, 2017 at 8:58 pm

And again, your timing is perfect, Dahlink!


Jane Monteiro October 29, 2017 at 8:14 pm

Hi Cousin, I read that book quite a while back. Thanks for quoting that passage and reminding me again how much I loved it.

Also read at your suggestion The Gentleman from Moscow. Read it right after my hip surgery. Was the best medicine of all, honestly. Read it slow, as you said about the other book, so it wouldn’t end. Totally loved it and recommend it to my book-club.


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