Friday, November 23, 2012
Read, reread, and think
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
(I was glad to find this old essay, just because it reminded me of books that deserve my rereading.)
Wherever I go to work, do errands, or travel, I always bring a book along. When I am reading, I am never lonely, for throughout my life books have been my truest friends. No matter what time of day it is, no matter where my mind is at, books are at my side, never judging, always helpful - even if to take me away from my problems for a little while.
The words that came from people’s mouths were not always good to me. From them, I learned fallacy: I was ugly. I was stupid. I danced like a rhinoceros. I would never have the joys of marriage. I didn’t deserve the good things in life.
The words of people were untrustworthy. They lied to me. But the words of books speak the truth, even when the label on the outside is “fiction.” It is true that lessons taught from experience remain with you in a way that lectures never can. It is also true that a book can be an experience. It will be impossible for me to list all the lessons I have learned from books in this tiny patch of time. But these four are standouts:
From Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, I learned that a compatibility of souls, not a temporary physical attraction, is the basis of love that lasts, and that you may not get a second chance no matter how sorry you are – so take care in what you say and do to others.
From Elithe Hamilton Kirkland’s Love is a Wild Assault, I learned that a woman’s choice of husband is perhaps the most important choice she will make in her life - and that making a good choice is far, far more difficult than any advice can convey.
From Oriana Fallaci’s The Rage and the Pride, I learned that all cultures are not created equal – that it is perfectly okay, in fact vital, for free societies to denounce and fight back against fundamentalism of any stripe.
From Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, I learned that “whatever you think, whatever you feel, I know is your problem and not my problem. It is the way you see the world. It is nothing personal, because you are dealing with yourself, and not with me.” I only wish I could have read these words when I was thirteen.
Now it is time for me to write a story which will be water to a parched soul.