book – noun \ˈbu̇k\
: a set of printed sheets of paper that are held together inside a cover : a long written work
: a long written work that can be read on a computer
: a set of sheets of paper that are inside a cover and that you can write information on
I keep ordering books. I start one and before I finish it, I start another.
I’m nearly buried in books. There’s no way I’ll be able to read them all in this lifetime. My family will need to bury them with me. Maybe they can construct my casket out of books.
I remember BK (before kids) when we lived for six months in Springfield, Illinois, in a duplex set a few feet from the railroad tracks. We had little stuff, and I kept everything clean, and Dennis traveled all week, and I was a regular at the library. I could lay on the couch all day and read. I read in bed at night. I read a novel about a writer who went to places like Morocco and took some kind of drug to stimulate his creativity. I think I read that book in a day, stopping only to go to the bathroom or to grab a cheese sandwich. That’s the only book that stands out during those months, and it’s all I remember about it. I don’t even recall its name or the drug.
I can’t lie on the couch or read in bed for long any more. I’ll fall asleep.
So many of my friends have published or will publish books this year. Some are set to release next year. Some are actively working on theirs. I want to read every word.
I’ve stalled on my books. Life has gotten in the way, and I know all the rules about working that writing time in no matter what–but lately it’s not working.
I’ve even wondered if I’m meant to write a book at all. Especially when so many have beat me to my themes. Of course, I know my story is my story, and themes are universal, but still…
End of pity party.
There’s been this meme going around on Facebook about ten books that have somehow stayed with you. I posted a list. Others posted lists. And I’d do a head smack because, “Oh, yes! That book, too.” Or… maybe there was a book that several had read that I missed. I wish I’d copied all those lists.
Anyway, I thought I’d list my ten books here and hope that some of you will list yours here so I have them all in one place.
1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Jo inspired me to write. I still smile at the image of her in her scribbling suit–a black woolen pinafore she could wipe her pen on and her hair bundled up in a black cap topped with a red bow. When she was in a writing frenzy, the family could judge how well genius burned by the position of the cap. If the cap was on the floor, they didn’t dare speak to her.
Jo won a contest and went on to write stories that brought in more checks. By “the magic of a pen, her ‘rubbish’ turned into comforts for them all.”
“Oh, when those hidden stores of ours
Lie open to the Father’s sight,
May they be rich in golden hours,
Deeds that show fairer for the light,
Lives whose brave music long shall ring,
Like a spirit-stirring strain,
Souls that shall gladly soar and sing
in the long sunshine after rain.” ~ J.M.
2. The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, apparently written during a train trip from Chicago to Texas and published the year before I was born. “Every age has its own characteristics,” he wrote. “Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart.” I read this in Tampa, Florida, again while my husband traveled and wrote, “October 4, 1981 – In pursuit… ” in the flyleaf of my Bible.
3. Karen! Karen! by Karen Burton Mains. I got to meet Karen at my first writer’s conference in Wheaton, Illinois. Karen wrote about her “fatal flaw” of looking back and saying, “It might have been . . . If only I had . . .” She said her junior high English teacher wrote across the top of one of her compositions: “Karen, you have the gift of writing. I feel sorry for you. You will be unhappy all your life if you are unable to use it.”
When she was approaching thirty and pregnant again, Karen did battle with her lack of discipline by resolving to get her home in order and keep it that way. “The rooms were to be picked up each night even if my tongue dragged in exhaustion on the floor! It was a grim undertaking, grimly undertaken.”
“I suspect I was also often physically exhausted because of the misuse of my creativity,” she wrote. “An artistic ability is a dangerous thing to contain; it is like floodwaters surging behind a dam. Unable to find its natural course, the tide overflows the banks, overwhelming the surrounding lands with its forces. The artist denied is often neurotic. I was to learn that the use of my gift was not only a matter of spiritual obedience–it was essential for my emotional health.”
And then there was the night she heard God call her name after she had been “hunting the supernatural” for months. Just before she had fallen asleep that night, she’d whispered, “If I don’t taste something of yourself soon, a part of me will be destroyed because of its great need!” She heard her name at 2 a.m. She crept from her bed with her Bible and encountered Him in a way I’ll never, ever forget.
And I wrote “October 24, 1981 – Romans 12:1” in the flyleaf of my Bible.
I was thirty years old.
Now I’m sixty-five… and nowhere near where I hoped I’d be.
To be continued.
Word Count: 975 (Almost twice as many as a usual post. Sorry.)
As you think about the ten books you might list, what is it about one of them that’s stuck with you?
In the stillness,
With Charity and Holley