Mud Vein: The icky vein on the back of a shrimp which is not recommended to eat and is usually cleaned out before consuming. Or better yet, for the context of this article, a mud vein is where we store all of our icky stuff that we don’t want to acknowledge we have within us…the human mud vein where all of our shit collects, our flaws, and our disgusting imperfections. We all have a mud vein, we all have parts of ourselves we turn away from and wish we didn’t have.
The book Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher is far from anything icky or shitty nor is it your average fictional tale. It’s a love story. A love story of epic proportions. A story about learning to love yourself completely, wrapped in the guise of a psychological thriller. At least that’s what it was for me. When you begin reading this fast paced mind-bender your only questions are “What IS happening?” and “Who did this to her?” but by the time the last page is consumed, you realize those weren’t the questions you should have been asking. Instead you walk away asking yourself; what darkness is inside of myself that I need to understand? What haven’t I accepted about myself? What are those flaws that I need to embrace as a part of myself in order to be completely me?
One of the best feelings is when a book stays with you and doesn’t let you go. It’s an authors’ true legacy, writing words that fundamentally change you from the inside out. And not because you don’t have the answers but because you walk away with more questions about who you are and who you want to be.
Reading Mud Vein was the first time I ever realized just how much I was learning about life, learning about myself through works of fiction, of romance, mysteries, fantasy, and young adult; none of which would be shelved within the self-improvement section and much of which would be considered subpar as far as books and writing goes. For self-improvement type of reading I tend to look to experts like Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, or even Steven Pressfield. And for pleasure reading I lean toward a romance or even a young adult fantasy adventure. But here I was reading this creepy psychological thriller weaving its message of self-acceptance through the pages filled with pink Zippos, and carousel horses. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the section headings like Shock and Denial, Pain and Guilt, and Anger and Bargaining; those would have been my first clues that this thriller was going to be anything but average. In reality though, I have come to believe we are drawn to the types of books, fiction or otherwise, that are going to teach us and change us. Sometimes it’s a simple lesson, recognizing an attribute that a character has is also something we have within ourselves, and sometimes the lessons are much deeper like self-love. I realized I was learning as much about myself, if not more, from fiction books than I was learning from self-improvement books.
There’s a line in the book about how there are strings connecting people who are meant for us.
“There is a string that connects us that is not visible to the eye. Maybe every person has more than one soul they are connected to, and all over the world there are those invisible strings… Maybe the chances that you’ll find each and every one of your soul mates is slim. But sometimes you’re lucky enough to stumble across one. And you feel a tug. And it’s not so much a choice to love them through their flaws and through your differences, but rather you love them without even trying. You love their flaws.”
~Tarryn Fisher, Mud Vein
Maybe books have that same type of string the one that pulls us toward them for the lesson they have to teach us. Mud Vein not only changed how I view myself, but in the end, changed the way I read. I no longer think of a book as purely entertainment. I look for the subtleties of what is being shown to me through the characters. I feel the words after I finish the last page. I am a little bit more me.
If you think fiction is only escapism, look again; look at those stories that changed you on a deeper level. Fiction can sometimes lead us to the truth of ourselves.
There is a teaser quote on the cover of the first edition of Mud Vein that reads “Only the truth can set her free.”
Yes, it did, Ms Fisher. I am truly free.
Note: The book teasers were made by me with mad love for Mud Vein because I simply could not let go of the story, the characters, or the words and had to create something for myself after I finished.
Big LOVE for your Mud Vein….