Do you think if I read all the Selected Journals of the author of this book, my journey from hopeful to full-on storyteller will finally be complete? It is, of course, extremely clear to me that I am not and never will be a her. Stories bubbled in her veins, I think, and then they just bled out onto the page, which she diligently faced despite any number of daily trifles plus a husband with mental illness and terrifying world events like the first World War. (I can’t imagine what she would have felt to realize it was only the first.)
Still, I think I can learn something from her. I can certainly learn diligence to the page and an intense love for story. I have to believe I can learn something from the author of the books that shaped me the most.
And speaking of shaping things, do you think spending one full hour in the children’s book section of a bookstore can shape my future as fully as it makes me nostalgic for the past? That’s what I did one recent afternoon when I found a minute to myself. I sat on the floor and read as if I had all the time in the world. I ran my fingers along the spines of so many books I’ve loved. I took note of the next book I will buy for my boys and wished with almost all my heart that they were with me but that they were still too small to reach the taller shelves. I don’t know that I wish they were little still. But I couldn’t help wondering if I had made the little years all that they should be.
Do you think if you spend two nights in a hotel room with this view, and if you steal precious minutes before bed just to sit at this sill and reflect, that you can make right all your directions in life? I did that recently, while adding Baltimore to the list of places I’ve been with my own two feet, and all my fingers and toes and some of my very own clothing to boot. I love to be places. I love the way it feels like a fulfillment of the line from Rilla, “Taste life? I want to eat it!” I love that it makes the world so big and my problems so solve-able. I love the way I come home fully energized to apply myself. To my goals, to my family, and to life.
This view, you cannot see from the picture, had steeples popping up and tall buildings and little houses and hills all around it. I love that life is that – tall moments and small ones and lots of movement, like a river, and not so much – like a never-changing, always-faithful steeple anchoring the view. I’m getting better, I think, at being glad for all the parts. And goodness, I love the whole.