This weeks blog post is in conjunction with the Blog-A-licious Blog Tour. I am pleased to be on the tour along with some very interesting and informative writers. At the bottom of this post will be a listing of the addresses of the other bloggers discussing this weeks subject. I encourage you to visit them also.
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The topic for this week’s Blog-A-licious Blog Tour is:
“The Book that Inspires me the Most”.
And this is especially hard for me. I’ve always hated that question whenever it came up. Have never been a “What is your favorite…” of anything type of guy. It’s not that I don’t have favorites – quite the opposite – I have so many ‘favorites‘ whenever I’m asked “What’s your favorite so and so?” – immediately after the word “What..”, my mind goes into a state of temporary paralysis and I can think of nothing! Don’t believe me? Go ahead – try me.
“What’s your favorite horror movie?”
“Horror? What’s a horror?”
Then, when others start spewing out names, I jump on every one of them like frog on a fly: “Oh yeah, that’s my favorite.” “Wait a minute … oh yes, that one’s my favorite too!” By the time it’s over I feel like a cheap date who’s been passed around at a sailor’s reunion.
But, for the sake of the team, I’m going to try to answer this one although as soon as the other members say something else, I’ll want to jump on their bandwagon too. Since I’m writing this without peeking at their responses, you have my word I won’t change it so you’ll get the first thing that comes into this desolate chamber called my skull.
But first I have to ask a question of my own:
“Inspires me for what?”
Inspires me to play golf?
Inspires me to succeed in business?
To make money?
Inspire me to …all right stop already!. I don’t think that’s what Dora had in mind.
Probably she wants us to be thinking on a grander scale. For me that would be in two areas:
Not sure which one so I’ll look at both.
The answer to the first one – WRITING - is easy.
When I was a boy (yes I was once) I loved to read. Didn’t have much technology back then, the world was on the cusped of inventing it all (I’d squat on the floor after school, staring at the test pattern on a tiny, 10″ circular, black & white TV screen housed inside a huge wooden box, waiting for Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob to come on). But we had books. Lots and lots of books. And I read every one I could get my grubby little paws on. I guess in today’s world they’d call me a ’nerd‘.
Then one day, somewhere around 1960 give or take a few, (I won’t tell you what year), I read a book titled:
…written by a Russian author named:
…and my life changed forever.
I was enthralled by his prose, his ability to paint the most fascinating scenes, people and emotions using only words as his paint brush and paints. His images were beautiful, full of life and jumped off the pages to me. I was transported into a new world, not only of place and sight but of seeing the inside of people.
From that day forward I read even more than before, only now I was no longer satisfied at being just a ‘reader‘ - sitting on the side lines, book in hand, passively receiving the fruits of other’s labors. I wanted to ‘create’ and to ‘paint‘ those pictures in people’s minds myself. I wanted…
…to be a writer.
That’s it. Not much more to be said about it. Well now, that wasn’t so hard, was it dk? One book that inspires me to be a writer. Easy – no sweat.
Of course, it’s taken me my entire life to do something about it. Back then it was a dream, something to fantasize about, squeezed in between the pains of growing up followed by the duties and responsibilities of ‘making a living’. (Want to know a secret? As a teen in the ’60′s everyone smoked. It was the ‘thing’ to do, while wearing black leather jackets hanging out on the street corners. Well, I smoked too, but here’s the secret, I never smoked cigarettes. Never! Know why? Because at 16 I started smoking right out of the gate with a full bent pipe! Oh yeah, how I fantasized I was the writer puffing and cradling my pipe like Mark Twain, while standing on the street corner, wearing my black leather jacket.)
Today, it’s an obsession for me. A driving passion to do now what I should have done then (and I don’t smoke a pipe anymore, although I do have a black leather jacket, and no – I don’t hang out on street corners any more neither.)
My mind likes to laugh at me and tell me “it’s too late you old fart, you missed your window“. But I don’t listen to him anymore – he’s told me too many lies over the years. And I know, it’s not too late. Yes, I lost a lot of time that’s true and there’s a lot of words that didn’t get written – but it’s never too late to follow your dream and that leads me to the second area of inspiration:
Now this one isn’t so easy. Life is a lot of things and to complicate it, we change too over time; what’s inspirational yesterday can be the total opposite today.
I think the way I’ll answer this is to consider my life as a series of bookshelves in the ‘dk Library of Life‘. Each shelf would be a shelf of time in my life and is stacked full of those books that inspired at that time.
I guess I should label the shelves….
on the bottom would be the “Innocent and Carefree” shelf…
above that is the “Dennis the Menace” shelf…
next up is the “WTF! Viet Nam and Woodstock!” shelf (we won’t browse there)…
followed by the “Career” and “Family” shelves and finally
the “What Happened? – Where’d it go?” shelf.
Now, when I step back and look at these shelves, I see they’re all packed tight with books but I notice an interesting thing. On each shelf, sitting among all the books representing that time in my life, sits a copy of the same book! (I never realized this until just now – writing this post and as I promised I won’t change what I see).
While it’s the same book, the inspiration from it is different on each shelf!
On the lower shelves, during those early Innocence and Dennis the Menace (there’s an oxy-moron) years, it was a book of stories of wonder and awe when I accepted and believed everything without questioning.
On that middle shelf, of “WTF! Viet Nam and Woodstock“ it was a book of fables inspiring scorn and derision when I thought I knew it all and doubted and questioned everything.
On the “Career” and “Family“ shelves, it’s there as a book of uncertainty, questions and contradictions but also of wisdom and instruction.
And there it sits now, on the top shelf, where it’s an inspiration of understanding, comfort and hope.
What is this unique book that has inspired me in so many different ways in all phases of my life?
I’m sure you’ve already guessed…
I know, some will think this corny and some will even scorn, but that’s okay, they have their own libraries to contend with. It is what it is, I can’t lie. It’s inspired the good and the bad in me; the ugly and the beautiful; the desolation, the doubt, the hope and the promise. It’s inspired me with wonder and adventure in my youth; scorn and derision in my angry years and it inspires me now to forgive and to love that which is not easily lovable.
It’s a book - that’s been there from my beginning to the present. Whether history or story telling, advise or avoidance, wisdom or foolishness, exaltation or derision, desolation or promise – it’s been a source of inspiration throughout my life.
Does it stop the questions? Or answer everything I want answered? No, it doesn’t. But what I’ve learned over the course of my ‘library‘ is that there are always questions and there will never be enough answers and that’s it’s foolish, presumptuous and even arrogant of me to expect that all my questions should be answered and everything revealed clearly. Complete clarity, is not what life is about. Never has been. There’s things that have yet to be discovered in our world, so there’s answers yet to be found. There’s questions yet to be asked. No – there’s a level of trust (faith?) in life that’s required for us to appreciate and to participate in creation and thereby to fully enjoy.
It’s just taken me a long time to learn this. I guess, looking at Writing and Life, one could say I’m a slow learner.
“In the beginning, God…”
…has there ever been a more powerful, provocative, controversial opening to any book – anywhere? Whether you’re a believer or a non-believer – the answer is the same – no.
Now I ask you, how many books can inspire that? For over 2000 years – and still going strong?
Corny? You decide.
Well, there you have it. There’s two books from my library, the two that have inspired me the most.
How about yours? To paraphrase a commercial: “What’s in your library?” Share your thoughts on either my books or on yours. Let me know, after all – it’s never too late.
Here are the addresses for the other bloggers on the Blog-A-licious Blog Tour who are also talking about “What Book Inspires them the Most”. Please go out and visit them. Thank you.
10. Kate & Ashley - http://backofthebookreviews.com/
18. Dora - http://blogaliciousblogs.blogspot.com/
“Bridges -a Tale of Niagara” - 3 signed copies will be given away from the names submitted in the Goodreads Book Giveaway. ‘Enter’ in the box on the right hand margin of this blog or at Goodreads. Contest ends July 2nd. Good Luck!
Until Next Time:
Embrace Life’s Bridges – For they Define Who You Are