Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Loathe Sundays

Who doesn't hate them? The idea of going back to work, even if you have a job as painless as mine, is overwhelming. I wallow in the misery of returning to work, gloomily aware of the passing hours as I watch my dog unravel his chew toy and listen to the background noise of a dolphin documentary.

Every few years, I fall into this dolphin kick after re-reading my favorite piece of adolescent literature A Ring of Endless Light by Madeline L'Engle. The book, about a girl who faces death for the first time while spending the summer communicating with dolphins and fending off three teenage boys vying for her attention, is a tad dated for today's generation. The object of the girl's admiration wears jean cut offs and her family play records of classical music.

Still there are so many little truths in this book that resonate with me as I age. The quotation from the Thomas Browne poem "But thou art all replete with very thou" makes me question the constant self-reflection I engage in. We are most ourselves when we are not thinking about ourselves, but rather completely in the moment. This was written for 12-year-olds in 1980, nineteen years before The Power of Now was published. Eckhart Tolle has nothing on Madeline L'Engle.

I've started re-writing a story I wrote when I was nineteen. The language and dialogue are embarrassing but the bones are there. The story is about reconciling the family you want to create with the family you are given. At least I think that is where it is going. Who knows? If I can discipline myself to work on it a little every day, maybe I will.

A lot of the inspiration comes from myself and my dreams of creating a family that is a hybrid of the one I grew up in and the fictional, plucky, literary families I used to love reading about. What happens when those dreams don't align with life: with infidelity, a job you loathe, a kid who can't read, a dog who eats the scrapbook of all the poignant moments you are trying to meld your chaotic life into?

So I was looking on Amazon for some of the Madeline L'Engle books I read when I was younger and I realized that some of them are out-of-print! How incredibly depressing! I wonder if anyone else will feel the loss of A House Like a Lotus the way I do?

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