Tuesday, February 2, 2010

If You Could Choose Your Family Like You Choose A Book

Don't get me wrong. I love my family. I wouldn't change a thing about them. No really, I wouldn't. They are all smart, lovable, and funny. For some reason, I'm the family power-ball lottery winner, and I have the lucky privilege of hanging around these people each day.

What I'm talking about in this blog is a family of the non-human variety. That's right. I mean the leather, paper, and ink relationships we rely on when our souls feel a little empty. I have a small circle of literary kin, each member as brilliant as they are diverse.

Take Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for instance. When my life is too complicated and I'm in need of comfort, I turn to The Day Is Done or The Bridge. These poems are most effective when spoken aloud, and in the moment I read them, I love Longfellow. Like a kind, wise grandfather, he belongs only to me. There isn't another person, living or dead, who understands me as he does, and with sweet reunion, his healing words meet my troubled mind. I can turn them to suit my mood and put them away in my heart. And Longfellow has saved me yet again.

Harper Lee and Jane Austen are my bold, brave sisters. When I'm in need of courage, I look to them. Steven King is my cousin with the spicy speech and the wild creativity. He inspires me to write when the world of writing hates my voice, my run-on sentences, and my character driven stories. My cousin does not "come lightly to the page" and neither do I.

Uncle Dickens wrote my first literary crush in A Tale of Two Cities. He didn't know who he had when he created Sidney Carton, but as I read between the lines, I see a tortured being, a reluctant hero who redeems himself through sacrifice. I'd choose Sidney over the stuffy Charles Darnay anytime. You get my point, I'm sure. I could go on about Tennyson or Pauletta Giles or Tracy Chevalier... all writers within my little group.

But we can't have our heads in a book all the time, can we? Hopefully though, we can take some of the book into our heads and move on with life a bit stronger. Or until the next time we need some family bonding.

1 comment:

  1. When I'm in writing mode, which is most of the time these days, I tend to have my head in a book all the time. Perhaps I should say I have a book in my head all the time. It surprises me that I'm able to shut my book out and focus on life when I need to. I feel like P G Wodehouse who wrote - "I never want to see anyone, and I never want to go anywhere or do anything, I just want to write." I guess I'm just hooked on writing!