Thursday, September 13, 2012

The oldest of friends

I've been in a bit of a tizzy lately, my life full of the unpleasant soundtrack of resistance winning. I keep making excuses - too busy, too much work, too tired to write or tell or create. (Keep going, I promise this isn't a whine.)

This afternoon, in my busy-ness, I decided to put off my real work of writing and thinking and dreaming to take a box of donation books to the library. Like many of you, I'm sure, I have a tendency to collect books and my shelves, they run over. When I can't stand it anymore I give some to the library.

Once I dropped off the box I was drawn in by that wonderful scent, the paper and binding and patient smell of the library. As a child some of my happiest times were there. In the library, no one cared that I was a bookworm, no one cared that I lived in imagination more than the real world, no one cared that I was often a little bit different.

So I wandered the stacks this afternoon, listening to school kids pretend to work and really flirt, admiring the dusty sunlight and running my fingers across my old friend, the Dewey decimal numbers. And then I stopped.

I was in the young adult section, fiction, in front of the L's.

Now, like many of you, some of my best friends have been books. They have carried me through some of the hardest times in my life, reassured me, kept me from being alone. My fingers had stopped on A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I hadn't read it in at least 20 years. This was an old friend I'd long abandoned.

Those of you who have read this book may skip this paragraph. For the rest of you, it's young adult sci-fi and so much more. Published in the early 1960s, it tells the story of Meg Murray, who doesn't fit in school or really anywhere else, and her family. She, her youngest brother, Charles Wallace and their friend, Calvin, go on a universe-wide quest to rescue her father and the world from a great darkness, with some unusual allies. It's spiritual, political, passionate and a gem. Read it.

As I hunkered on my sofa this afternoon and consumed the book in one sitting, I wasn't just this 44 year old woman who is too busy and too tired. I was again my 10 and 12 and 15 year old self, the one who didn't fit in, the one who thought she would never find her place, the one who was lost and wanted to be on another planet more than anything else. I was my 26 year old self who had cancer. I was my 31 year old self, both heart-broken and in love. And again, I am my 44 year old self, wondering who I will be next and if I am brave enough to leap.

I curled up and wept as I read. I cried for all the selves I had been and all those I will be, for the way time is maleable. I cried for the lonely girl and scared young woman and confused adult. I cried with relief that all of these people co-exist in this one body. I cried with joy that this old friend, these pages, these words, were waiting for me, to remind me of who I had been, who I am and who I might yet be.

I am so grateful to Meg and Charles Wallace and Calvin and Mrs. Whatsis and Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which and Aunt Beast and especially Madeleine L'Engle. Thank you for waiting for me all of these years. Thank you for welcoming me back and reminding me of who I was and of the possibility before me.

All of this leaves me wondering what other books might be worth revisiting, what other lessons my 5 or 15 year old self might have in store for me now. And what books you've re-read lately. I'd love to hear about it. And who knows, maybe we will find each other, in the library, checking out our old favorites at the beginning of a new aventure.

(c)2012 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fantastic "read" animation

This works for storytelling too!

(c)2012 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License
True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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