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Rockosophical Reads

If you enjoy the occasional piece of fiction, here are two novels for your stack. This pair of good reads include pocket rocking behavior, are literary award winners with social justice motifs, and are authored by prolific female writers. Spoiler Alert: they’ve also got that rockosophy. (No actual spoilers about character development, plot twists, or other vital goodies are revealed in this post, only tasty morsels about pocket rocks.)

Our first stop brings us to The Flamethrowers, by Rachel Kushner. This story, set in the 1970’s, has a chapter with an internal character conflict where part of the character’s self-defense is an analysis of a fictional pocket rock custom. The main character reflects on a cultural bridge he has fostered since childhood using his familiarity with Brazilians enslaved on a rubber farm who “carry stones around in their pockets to weigh down their souls, to keep them from floating away from their bodies.” The character’s own pocketing the occasional rock around his family’s rich Italian estate is just the same, he reasons, to these slaves stolen from their homes who retain this small practice as an enduring spiritual custom.

Most recently, The Round House, by Lousie Erdrich, sports a pocket rock as a token of lent strength between adolescent friends. Within the first 20 pages, a “thunderbird egg” comes to the main character as a token of friendship and resiliency. Taken “from under a tree that had recently been struck by lightning”, the stone is smooth, palm-sized, dark as charcoal, and makes routine appearances as the plot builds. Here, the pocket rock is also handled and squeezed for reassurance that the character is not alone. A direct and tactile connection to the giver of the pocket rock, the case in this story focuses on the direct passing of the stone between characters, whereas the Flamethrowers rockosophy exploration acts as a stand-in where no direct connection is possible.

In both novels, the pocket rocks are minor notes. Their values are described with striking similarity, as expected with rockosophy being so glaringly universally practiced, many pocket rock encounters share the same key foci. Folks tend to find token stones grounding in their weight, texture, temperature, origin, or the memories the pocket rocker is protected from or those that are evoked or mirrored by this mindful ritual.

Read like you meant to,