Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reading Woes

What happened to all the good books? I've grown weary of adult literature.  I haven't purely enjoyed a book in a long time.  I've read lots of books that are well written, that are interesting, that I learn things from, that provoke thinking...but nothing truly engaging, if you know what I mean.  Nothing that makes me want to immerse myself in the world of the book the way I felt about stories from my childhood.  Is it impossible for a book you read as an adult to stir those same emotions just because we are adults?  I hope not.  Where oh where is a book that makes me want to discover wild violets in a buffalo wallow on the Dakota Prairie with Laura?  To constantly write my thoughts in a notebook and drink a real New York Egg Cream with Harriet?  To clomp down Klickitat Street on coffee can stilts with Ramona?  To live in a lake front high rise and solve a mystery with Turtle?  To belly crawl across the Alaskan tundra hunting for food with Julie?

I've looked for fun and frivolity in adult fiction.  I've read Bridget Jones's Diary.  I've read the Shopaholic books.  I've probably read all of the British chick lit my libraries have to offer.  It is fun.  But it doesn't make me want to live like those women. 

I've looked for community and coziness in adult fiction.  I've read the Mitford books and enjoyed them tremendously.  But I don't want to live in Mitford. 

I've looked for adventure and richness of place in adult literature.  I like reading escapist travel books like "A Year in Provence" and "Under the Tuscan Sun", but the authors of those books don't live as characters that come to feel like friends in my mind. 

I'm guess I'm just nostalgic.  It must be like Meg Ryan's character Kathleen says in "You've Got Mail" - "I started helping my mother here after school when I was six years old. I used to watch her, and it wasn't that she was selling books, it was that she was helping people become whoever they were going to turn out to be. When you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your life does."

I am so grateful for the great books I read as a child.  So grateful for the funny and smart and sympathetic authors who thought to write them.  I'm hopeful it's still possible to find books like that as an adult.   My search for new books to call friends continues. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Lost

I wake up several times a night and have a very hard time going back to sleep.  The house is still, quiet, and dark.  My mind is not.  It is busy, busy, busy, thinking of my Lost One. 

I went through a phase not long ago when using the euphemism "lost" to mean "dead" was really offensive to me.  I didn't like the implication of "lost".  That it somehow meant I "misplaced" her, or in some way was responsible for her death by not paying enough attention to where she was so that she could just wander away and become "lost".  I just didn't like it. 

Now, with some time, I am able to accept the intention behind the phrase and agree with it's true sentiment.  My baby girl is lost to me.  I have lost the chance to know her.  And it is a lot to lose.  I feel it every day.  It is so obvious to me, the hole in our family where she is, but isn't.  I miss her.  I miss her deep in my soul.  You may think the missing wouldn't be there since I don't really KNOW her.  Which of your children would you not miss having the chance to know?  Just pick one.  After all, that's all I'm missing.  Just one.  One is lost.