A month or so ago, I focused on travel books -- books that I was reading from the library as part of Project 101, a weekly library challenge in which I highlight a book the boys love from the library and something I am reading. Most of these books were literally about places to travel to or were collections of essays in which others had written about a place they had traveled to. I also shared some children's books/kid lit that allowed young readers to travel through the characters in the books, exploring different places and/or cultures right at home through a good book. I am grateful for Project 101 and all I am gaining and learning through a weekly commitment to exploring books.
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This week, I find myself traveling through time with my recent library book. As I wondered through the library, I found myself in the poetry section and The Fact of a Doorframe, a book of selected poems from 1950-2001 by Adrienne Rich caught my eye. I read many of the poems in this book several times in college. Re-reading many of them again now, transports me back in time. It encourages a rediscovery of sorts -- of myself. I find myself reflecting on the woman I was then: embracing new freedoms, fiercely passionate as I learned of injustices in the world, and so full of youthful enthusiasm to be bold, vocal and relentless in relation to whatever cause currently captured my attention.
It is not that I know am unengaged, uninterested or uninspired. In many ways, now that I am a parent, being engaged and working to create a better world/community for my children feels even more important. Yet, it expresses itself differently and, I hope, has gained something from a greater understanding of the value of mindfulness and of the complexities of the world around me. Part of me, though, misses that youthful enthusiasm and boundless energy. I find myself wondering how I might be able to reconnect to that fire in those moments when I feel overwhelmed by the challenges and injustice in the world or, simply, just exhausted by it all. Maybe by traveling back in time through a book and strolling down memory lane, I can regain some of that energy.
Though parenthood contributes a lot to my longing for the energy and enthusiasm I had 15 years ago, in terms of working to create a better world, I also realize that parenthood offers important opportunities. With Wild Thing and Caterpillar, I can model community involvement. I can nurture important character traits like empathy, respect and love. I can plant seeds. Today was a perfect example. Our community had its first clean up day in over 15 years. We went -- as a family. The boys didn't last that long (there are 2 and not quite 4, after all). Still, they saw their parents picking up trash. Wild Thing picked up some trash himself too. We are planting seeds. We also do this in the types of films our production company makes and, when they are older, they will come to understand this as well.
So, it seems that The Fact of a Doorframe, for me, has been a window into my past, present and future.
I almost forgot to share what the boys are loving right now from the library -- not surprisingly it's an Elephant and Piggie book by Mo Willems: Let's Go for a Drive! They love it, and I do too. It is perfect for the early reading stage Sky is in (as it is repetitive and has some simple words that he can identify and recognize, like "go" and "car'). Plus, the book embraces adaptability and imagination as Elephant and Piggie finally get ready for a drive only to realize they have no car. Not to be deterred, they simply create a pirate ship out of the bags, map and umbrella they compiled for their car trip - brilliant!
What are your kids reading right now? What about you?
Is there a particular book that is linked with a specific time in your life? Does reading that book later transport you back to that time? Have you been inspired to consider re-reading a book? If so, I'd love to hear about it!
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