Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Little Things

Restless. This word defines me often. Although I can usually drown this feeling in daily activities, it always surfaces near a shelf of books.

No matter where I go in the world I end up searching for a new bookstore, subconsciously seeking some literary treasure that I never can find. When I was a baby, my parents had enormous pine bookcases that I would spend each day climbing, tossing paperbacks until I had transformed the topography of the living room floor. I could not read; I barely knew the alphabet, but I liked scaling the bookcase, and I loved books. So, my early days were spent in the most fantastic adventures at the expense of my mother, who had to clean up the mess each night after I was in bed.

If I were stranded on a desert island, I'd search for a castle with a large library, or a shopping mall with a Barnes & Noble. Poor Milk Man knows. He loses me for hours in the book store. Just last week we were there and he called me on my cell phone to find me. I was sitting on the floor of the writing reference aisle, surrounded by a pile of how-to books, completely consumed in a search.

He dragged me off my literary mound and we took the escalator to the second floor for coffee. Something profound happened as we ascended to the children's section. As I looked down, the people, books and shelves got smaller. It reminded me of how the world looks from an airplane.

I Was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn is a great book. In it the author imagines Earhart describing an atmosphere that exists above reality, that can only be reached by plane. In this space people can pause from the restless pulling of life's trivialities and take a broader look at their existence. Amelia spends days in the air, and calls that time the in between.

"There are times in life, after a death of some kind, when we are open to the slightest shifts, when our powers are acute, when we can change the future," writes Mendelsohn.

I thought about this book once when I was on a plane to Chicago. I was thinking about some personal issues that were difficult, and awkward. Then I looked out the window. How much smaller my world looked. I imagined the objects in my home on a one inch scale, like the little doll house I built for my daughter. I thought, "My life looks so silly from 30 thousand feet up." My dad used to call it "going up to the balcony to watch your life."

With the start of a new year I have to remember this little revelation because it puts things into perspective. Also, I think it's important that I keep climbing the bookshelf, although now it's a figurative one, until my restless search ends.

"One resolution I have made, and try always try to keep, is this: To rise above the little things." -John Burroughs


Tony said...

You write very well! "Restless" would definitely describe me lately, I can't get out right now with all this snow, cold weather, short days, poor economy, Christmas debt! I wish I could find some satisfaction in reading! Unfortunately, I am fairly focused on what cures my ills.

Putz said...

is that my tony above me on this blog????tony from syracuse not new york but utah??? my daughter unmarried but married to books ...she is on barlowbark on my side bar...is a preoccupied zombie when it comes to books...she also is a good writer, not like her dad who cab't seem to get it all together, but i so appreciate your writing skills loren, do you realize how talented you are

Loren Christie said...

Thank you Barlow family! I wish you were a family of publishers, because I get a lot of rejections. Happy New Year! How was your Christmas play?

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

This is a very thoughtful post. It is so important to frequently take stock of life in the bigger picture. I hope your mom sees how putting up with the book messes paid off!

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


Loren Christie

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