Saturday, May 1, 2010

Feel this.

I need to say something. I’ve been having this bizarre experience. Lately I feel this strange sensation, it’s something like feeling need. It’s a lot like being hungry actually. For the past week or so I’ve actually assumed it was hunger. 
The process goes like this: 
I Feel it.
I eat something. I’m full. I’m not satisfied. 
I eat something else. More full. Still not satisfied. 
Still Feel it.
Over the past seven days I’ve tried meat, bread, fruit, vegetables, cheesy milky things, healthy things, greasy things, raw things and cooked things. Do I sound like a Doctor Seuss book to you? I’ve tried it all. None of it is the answer. Upon explaining this to my friend Sarah today I acknowledge a thought that has until recently been pushed to the backburner: Maybe it’s not hunger for food.

What is it that I’m unsatisfied about?

I also cannot sleep. Last night I tossed and turned all over again thinking is this because my new bed isn't not comfy? That’s not it. It feels just fine. 
Something else in me is trying desperately to get my attention.

Are you expecting this post to end in an answer? It won’t. Still waiting on that.
For now, let’s talk about secondhand books.

Today I went to the DI, this place is a lot like Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Villiage. You know, it’s other people’s stuff. It wants to be your stuff now. We looked at the books because Sarah loves this. It’s therapeutic for her. I just had so many thoughts and I wanted to come home and write about them.

First of all, there are so many books that claim to solve life. Finding a Friend in the Mirror (How to love yourself). The fast Track to Heaven (Um, a short-cut to God?).  Be a Perfect Person in 3 Days (Really. I’m serious.) Finding Your Best in Multi-level Marketing (Gag.) Even a Writer’s Companion on how to get published (Okay so I might have picked this one up for a second…) One thought about all this: I will never claim that my book has the answer to life.

There are Mary Higgins Clark books everywhere. I wonder what is must be like, to be so well known that even the second hand stores have double and triple copies of your novels. What am I doing with my writing? What do I want to do? Do I want to be a 
fattly-sold Mary Higgins Clark? No, I don’t think so. At least, that is not my aim. What is my aim? To tell the truth. To say my words. What does that mean? I will spend my life trying to figure out the answer to that question. I will not find it in the Writer’s Companion, which then goes back on the shelf.

I find The Official Handbook of Hugging. There are actually chapters on How, When, Where, and Why to hug, complete with illustrations of chubby little animals demonstrating. I am honestly impressed with whoever had the audacity to be this cheesy. I will not buy this book today. I have lofty expectations about my future shelves as being tributes to great literature. But you know, the world just needs people to write funny huggin handbooks with cliché love quotes and hearts on the spine, and this is more than okay with me.

As I continue on my search, I begin to look for authors and titles I’ve already known, only to watch myself dismiss them upon finding. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. I think of creepy stow-aways in the belly of moldy murderous ships. No thanks. Frank Norris? Eh. Then I see: The Scarlett Letter. Paperback. Yellowed attic-smelling pages. DONE. In my basket. This book was so hard to read, but full of beautiful things. Full. It is needful that I own a copy. I do now. 75 cents. Success.

With the unknown authors, I skim pages. I read really fast over chapter titles and final paragraphs. I require my immediate interest to be kindled. Make me want you, I am saying to these books. Let your significance yell off the page. All the while, a quiet voice within me fights this method. “My life will get nowhere if I search with these expectations,” it says.

Before I leave I see a Book of Mormon Reader. It’s an illustrated and simplified version for kids. My parents use to read this to us sometimes when we lived in Greensboro. I remember sitting on the rug in a pajama shirt that could have swallowed me whole three times over. I wanted to read the real scriptures because someone in sacrament meeting said that as you keep turning a wheel, it gets easier. And that even if we don’t understand the scriptures, we have to keep going to them, keep turning the wheel. My Mom said the other kids weren’t old enough for real verses yet. Now I am re-reading my study book from my Book Of Mormon class at BYU three years ago. I am going to go teach this to other people. Where is my life going? Look where it’s been.

I leave with The Scarlett Letter. The Lovely Bones. A Book of Days for the Literary Year, which says what James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald were doing on my birthday. (Awesome.) And an old Smithsonian Magazine that has really great art inside, which I can tear out and glue in my journal. I hand the lady my four dollars, and walk outside. I needed that.

It is about 8:15, and still light enough to see the details of the mountains. It will be dark in less than an hour. It is faintly cold, and everything is tinted in blue tones. As I climb into Sarah’s big SUV, I am struck with the impression that Today Really Matters. I don’t need an explanation; I just know it’s true.

On the way home I know that whatever this need is, this toss-turn mystery hunger… I must let it smoulder into discovery.


brooke said...

There are few things I love more than seeing a new post pop up from you. Clicking on the post. Being here long enough reading and thinking so that the music starts playing.
I always just wanna say thank you for that.

David's Holla Atchya! Blog said...

First, I'll be bold. I am disappointed that your response to Thomas Hardy is 'Eh.' I love his writing. It is poetic and even though I am so far from 19th century English pastoral life, I can connect to his characters as if they were my best friends. I feel transformed to a new and simple life when I read his work (I am 1/3 of the way through "Far From the Madding Crowd" right now). His sadness pulls me in and makes me feel human.
Second, forgive me for my lightheartedness, but usually when my hunger is not satiated I eat something sweet like ice cream or a cookie. I love books! I have two weeks between Winter semester and when I leave for Thailand and I have been filling it with reading. I have been reading for upwards of 3 hours a day. It's bliss.