My dear friend recently lost her dad… unexpectedly, with no time to prepare and steel herself for the emotional tidal wave. In a phone call a few weeks later, telling me about her process of integrating back into life, she mentioned going to the library… because “I just needed to spend time with the alphabet.”
I think I missed her next few sentences(sorry, Cheryl!) because I was so blown away by that description; I’ve never heard her my relationship with words expressed so beautifully.
Words, especially written words … a never-ending source of comfort and expression and anticipation. I don’t quite understand it, really. What is it that makes my heart go pitter-patter when an Amazon.com box shows up on my porch, and my knees weak when I walk into a bookstore, and my Kindle evoke feelings of true love (yes, I have one foot in the dark side)?
That was a rhetorical question, by the way. I don’t really want to know the answer. The mystery, I think, is part of the allure of a pull that I don’t want to lose.
Sometimes we just need to spend time with the alphabet.
Like right now, in this long overdue episode of Starla’s Bookshelf!
I have been raking in alphabet chunks like I’m starving. I gave in to the Kindle (no real pages? <snooty nose lift> I would NEVER. Until I did. oops.) and promptly downloaded:
- A classic (because “they make me look smart,” says my brilliant sister-in-law): “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, 1898; one of my fave college years I-don’t-have-to-conform books
- “The Book of Tea” by Kakuzo Okakura (thank you for the rec., Kelly K!): juicy, thought- and inspiration-provoking text about the ritual and meaning of the tea ceremony.
- Seth Godin’s, Graceful: Making a difference in a world that needs you“: I love the title, and I love Seth’s take on marketing / biz / living a real life. Hopefully will love the book also.
- …and of course Jodi Picoult’s latest novel, “Sing You Home“ (mixed review here re: the GLBT* issues portrayal, but so far an interesting story nonetheless).
As if that wasn’t enough, I felt a need to load up on my “waiting to be read” stash of paper (non-digital) books. Hey, I’m a writer. Books are business expense writeoffs. Required part of my physical environment. Why NOT buy more of them (don’t answer that, San!)??
This week, Amazon.com delivered me a little box full of happy:
“devotion: a memoir” by Dani Shapiro. I stumpled into Dani’s blog one day and instantly felt as though my writing heart and mind had a place of respite and inspiration. So naturally I purchased her book as soon as it was available. I haven’t started it yet because I’m still enjoying the anticipation. Feels like having a fresh-baked batch of chocolate chunk brownies always waiting for me.
“The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles“ by Steven Pressfield. Seth Godin said this book was a game changer for him, so I took a look. Read two lines in the online preview: ”Most of us have two lives. The life we life, and the unlived life within us.” *click* BUY!
“The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes” by Andy Karr and Michael Wood. Recommended by Nona Jordan … whose blog posts always gently hit that soft tender heart spot. Contemplative Photography? OMG, I need 15 copies NOW! Or at least one. Loving even the first pages of “how photography can be used to expand your vision and your appreciation of the world.”
There are other books I turn to regularly (see photo for titles/authors), but I think this list is enough alphabet for you to digest today, yes?
And anyway, I’m out of time here… I have books to read!
*GLBT = Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered