Every morning, I wake up, grab my lap top and check e-mail, daily blessings and facebook. Today one of my friends from high school posted ten books that had inspired her. I have not been able to stop thinking about books that have inspired me. So, here goes--
The Year of Magical Thinking.
Revolt of the Cockroach People
Love in the Time of Cholera
The Cold Six Thousand
May we Be Forgiven?
A Year in Provence
Life and Death of Charlie St Cloud
I reflect over my choices and see themes that have inspired me at different phases in my life. My friend, Sarah, from college always read and would lend or buy me books. She turned me onto Geek Love, Love in the Time of Cholera, A Year in Provence. Also, a few books that I just considered. Choke, Fight Club, a few other books by Chuck Palahniuk. Sarah always knew how to find a great read.
The Stand, I stumbled upon, while working at a gift shop in high school. My boss, Carol, is a kind woman. She taught me how to approach customers without appearing aggressive. She and her husband owned a collectible store that my mom worked at when we first moved to Salina. Later, Michaela, my sister, worked for Carol and then me. It was a great job. I could do homework while being open at the shop and I read a lot. I think I have always been drawn to Denver from that book. Who knows?
I read Revolt of the Cockroach People in college. I thought I would attend law school when I was a little kid. I think I came up with that notion when I was 7 years old. My parents were supportive of my decision and firm that if and when I attended law school, I would be paying for it. That is not what stopped me from pursuing that idea. It just didn't feel right when I attended college. I loved history and ended up in the latin american studies section of the department. My advisor was a kind, patient man. He taught us to learn in many mediums--film, lecture, music. I read Revolt of the Cockroach people while attending one of his classes.
Another academic and friend, Cotten, suggested that I read James Ellroy. I have never been disappointed in any of his books. Black Dahlia, White Jazz, L.A. Confidential. The one that stays with me is The Cold Six Thousand. Every few years, I reread it, from start to finish. I never get bored with the story. I actually almost checked it out, again, a couple weeks ago. Instead, I picked up May We Be Forgiven? I had started that book, this past summer, while visiting my sisters in Oregon. It captivates and is at times, laugh out loud, hysterical. I had to finish it once I found it at the library.
I found The Alchemist while traveling on my around the world adventure. My friend, Amber, loaned it to me in New Zealand. It's funny how when you need something, truly need it, you receive. I randomly encountered Amber in Christchurch at a hostel. We shared a room and she spoke of a great park to run in in Christchurch. A week later, we ran into each other in Wellington. Now, she is relocating to Denver after several years in Chicago. She teaches yoga and is highly respected in her field. I keep meeting people that know her or have taken her class. At that point, in my journey, I needed the Alchemist. It was perfect.
The Life and Death of Charlie St Cloud was in a hostel in Costa Rica. I found it near Manual Antonio where Shari met me to celebrate the 28th of February. I found it and was wrecked, emotionally, as it rang true to me at that time. Especially as Shari was traveling me and we were both trying to identify how to heal ourselves from the greatest loss I have ever felt.
The Year of Magical Thinking, still, brings some sort of peace to my life. I have sent it to others in similar situations to help them breathe as it did me. Loss is part of our lives and how one chooses to deal with differs greatly. For me, I had to lose myself in travel to refind what living could be. I am still learning that path. Not as intense, but, still a part of my life.
I think today is going to be about reflection, inspiration and power.