Friday, May 22, 2009

The Simple Joy of Reading

In the past month I have read seven books. Yes. Seven. Four weeks, Seven books. I took three with me to India, brought one back with me on the plane, bought three after a few days of being at home, and have since bought three more (the first of which I started reading last night).

Reading is so relaxing to me. I jealously guard my reading time. I know many, many people who don't read at all and I am baffled at the notion of a life without books. For me, disappearing into a good story is the most pleasurable of afternoon pursuits. Waking up to a rainy Saturday puts me in the mood for a cup of tea, some buttery bread, cheese and a thick novel I've been eager to read all week. Do all my rainy Saturdays (or Saturdays in general) turn out like this? Of course not. Life rolls on and there are many things I must accomplish on Saturdays that cannot be accomplished during the week.

Chalk it up to extended jet lag, or just the fact that I've started going into work and hour and a half earlier, but by the time I get home in the afternoons, all I want to do is sit and read. It's odd, really. I'll read until the sun starts to go down and then I get animated once more. I start working, writing, contemplating new designs for my up and coming business.

Then of course, there are those days when all that gets pushed to the side. Those rare days when the story takes over, possess me, and I have no choice but to sit still and turn the pages until I reach "The End".

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Visions of Belonging

A bit of a vision struck me this morning. No sounding trumpets or angels ascending. Just a quite revelation of truth. We are put here on this earth for a reason, a purpose. I don't believe any one's purpose is the same as the next. We may be involved in similar pursuits, similar things, but what we bring to the table is as varied as our personalities. Little quirks, tiny differences are what make us unique. And through these we bring our own touch of wonder to that which we are called to do.

I've spent the morning checking and updating blogs, as well as creating a new one. And I was at peace. I still am, as I write this post, even though I am at my "day job", sitting in an office, listening not to the birds and the breeze but to the sounds of the goings-on of the internal organs of a computer and software support firm. I am here thanks to a dear friend and the job is filling a need. Is it where I belong? For now, yes, forever, no. But I am able to get glimpses of what is beyond the need.

It is desire that drives us, be it for freedom to pursue our calling or for an afternoon at the beach. We rearrange schedules, make sacrifices, work a little extra here, save an extra dollar there until the day arrives when we can at last sigh and say, "This is it! I've made it."

How far off is that day for me? I shrug. I honestly don't know. But I feel I've made headway, feel I've finally crossed a necessary threshold. The next step towards the silver lining. Until I can at last wake up and say, "I am in control of my destiny" in the way only the self-employed can, I will have these dreams, these moments of wondering when, when, when? Yet I will continue on, plugging away in the moments I have, to make those dreams a reality, and, hopefully, speed up that schedule just a bit.

~ J. Chandler

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reading a Beautiful Story

"The End of the Alphabet" by C.S. Richardson is one of the most beautiful books I've stumbled across in a long time. I found it at Books A Million in the library book section. Yes, they have a section where they sell old library books. It's wonderful. They are all hardbacks and have card catalogue cards in the back (you know, the old fashioned cards you actually had to have the librarian stamp for you at the desk). I'm a bit of a nostalgic at heart, so I picked up three the last time I was there. Richardson's book was the first I read.

It's a quick read, I finished it in about an hour and a half, but the depth of the story will stay with you much, much longer. It is a tale about a man, a rather ordinary man by all accounts, who sets out on the journey of a lifetime after hearing some rather disheartening news from his physician. As you read, however, you come to discover that Mr. Zephyr is not as ordinary as he seems. In hindsight, I have to ask myself: are any of us really ordinary?

For that's what beautiful stories do, make us question the conventional, make us wonder at what we hold as truth. I've never enjoyed reading for the sake of reading. If a book fails to stir me emotional in the first chapter, I put it down. I'm not going to waste my time with a story that means nothing more that what it appears at face value. Some may argue that I'm missing out on some juicy beach reads. I argue that I'm not one to bite into a story and let the juices run; I'd rather chew it up, savor it, swallow it and let it digest, slowly. I've also been told I'm weird, so follow my suggestions at your own risk.

If, like me, you enjoy stories that linger in your memory, challenge you to live a better life, and are filled with beautiful prose, hunt down a copy of "The End of the Alphabet". And if you can't find it at your local library, don't panic. They may have just sent it to Books A Million.