Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Of Reading & Books

Yesterday my book group met at our little local library. We'd read the #5 rated book on Amazon this past month: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Along with discussing the book itself and its impact on us, or lack of impact for some, we shared stories of our childhood with books. What was the first book you remember reading and how did it affect you? Mine was Heidi. It changed me by teaching me about a faraway land so different than the inner city where I lived. Heidi's story was absolutely exotic to me. I wondered, "Where do you get goat cheese to eat?" My mother did not know.

Then came the Little House books, and I lost myself in the prairie life and the woods, Pa playing fiddle at night, sleeping in a loft. Wow, families lived like that? My world continued to grow. I was learning different cultures and geography. More significant, my love of learning was blooming.

We talked yesterday about why we all were such avid readers when today this is not the norm for most children. The answer is apparent, of course: More alluring media. TV, DVDs, video games, SmartPhones and all that glitter. I hate sounding like an old lady, and I won't tell about walking to school in 4 feet of snow, but are reading and good books dying?

When you consider the publishing crisis, giving way to ebooks, electronic readers, book downloads to your cell phone, what will become of the beloved hardbacks you can hold in your hands and display proudly on your bookshelves? One thought is that less paper books will be published. Already this has happened. The ones that do go to print must therefore be worthy. And they'll cost more.

I see a time coming when we go back a little ways, where "real," good books are not in supply as they are now, where one buys selectively that beautiful volume for his/her shelf, and libraries thrive because they supply the rest of what we need and desire. Sort of like when I was a kid. Would that be so bad?

By the way, the Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a good book. I'm not sure I want to make a Potato Peel Pie, though if times get too bad, that might be an option.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How Do You Wake Up?

When you open your eyes in the morning, do you feel excited to start the day? Is the job or the project calling you, revving up your ambition and your eagerness to get started?

I remember times when I felt that way upon waking. But then the toll of the passing years sucks all that out of us it seems. We hit the snooze several times and wish we were on vacation somewhere exciting or exotic. The day's chores and to-do list, the phone calls, the errands all bring us down to the real world of just living another day exactly like the one before. And we know the one tomorrow will be just the same.

Is there anyway to change this drain on our lives, or are those good old days really over?

I found a secret that works for me just recently, and it's made a huge difference in my overall attitude about life.

We need a project. Something ongoing that we never really finish. People sometimes call it a hobby. But project is a better word.

  • Let's say you've got a vision for creating a wonderland of garden paths for all seasons of the year on your property. Can you sketch the plan out on paper and use seed catalogs to find the plants you will be using and add them to your drawing? Then plan where you will start digging, what path you will work on first. We all know garden addicts who do this. It keeps them going beyond the dullness of same-old, same-old every day and gives them pleasure beyond measure.

  • Painting. You might never have really dabbled in art before but you admire others who do. Might you try your hand at it? Start small. See if you like it, if you think you're at least a little good at it. Then you might decide to keep at it and become better until you can't wait to climb out of bed every morning to finish one of your projects.

  • Photography. This is an exciting project, and one that can be dear to the heart as well if you love taking photos of your family and using them as wall art or creataing scrapbooks. I do both, and there many mornings I can't wait to get to my craft table in the front room and work.
  • Charitable Causes. One of the best feelings is to help someone who needs it, and there are so many ways to give. Find a cause to work for, something that helps change the world, and you won't want to sleep your life away.
  • Faith. This is the one that does it for me when nothing else can. All of creation itself astonishes me. Every season of the year holds wonders to behold, and it is too much for me to grasp sometimes I want to write about it, sing, just observe. And thank God for all of it.

Women's Memoirs

Women's Memoirs
Women's Memoirs