There are books that entertain, books that inform, books that soothe, books that inspire. And then there are books – and writers- that change you. That get underneath your fingernails like a fine silt and settle into your bones, your thoughts, your gait, as you walk through this world.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh is one of those writers for me, and her book Gift from the Sea is one of those books. It resides on a special shelf in my heart alongside Anne Lamont’s Traveling Mercies, Eudora Wetlty’s One Writers Beginning and Phyllis Tickle’s The Shaping of a Life. These are the books that I would take on a desert island. The books I return to over and over, year after year, season after season. They are the books that held my hand as as I traveled from girlhood to womanhood and so they are as much a part of myself as any other formative influence I have ever encountered.
Last week, while at the Library for a meeting, I had time to browse the new releases, and low and behold I came across this gem by AML. And again, just like I was while reading Gift from the Sea, I am blown away. I am blown away by Anne’s insight, her honesty, and how timeless the struggles of balance motherhood/art/vocation/marriage/individuality/friendships/domesticity are. And by how well she addresses, dissects and shares these struggles. Reading her letters and journal entries I feel as if we are having a conversation over a Starbuck latte, instead of being separated by lifetimes and pages.
Over the past two weeks I have had the pleasure of sitting in while my friend Melissa conducted Book Clubs with our elementary and middle school students at work. Melissa has a great gift for getting kids to talk about reading in ways that are lovely and subtle. She doesn’t talk to them as if they are children, instead she talks to them – engages them -for what they are: Readers.
During several Book Club meetings she read the following statement by author Richard Peck when asked why he reads.
I read because one life isn’t enough, and in the page of a book I can be anybody;
I read because the words that build the story become mine, to build my life;
I read not for happy endings but for new beginnings; I’m just
beginning myself, and I wouldn’t mind a map;
I read because I have friends who don’t, and young though they are,
they’re beginning to run out of material;
I read because every journey begins at the library, and it’s time for me to start packing;
I read because one of these days I’m going to get out of this town,
and I’m going to go everywhere and meet everybody,
and I want to be ready.
– Richard Peck
Even though she read his answer multiple times, I could not help but choke up a little bit each and every time she read the line I read because every journey begins at the library, and it’s time for me to start packing.
Picking up the copy of Against Wind & Tide was one of those moments for me. Time to pack my bags and start off on a new journey with Anne as my travel partner. It is time to go off on an adventure and o listen and learn, to sit and ponder, and to go wherever her words will lead me, be it by land or by sea.