The boy, the portal, and the dragon

In Faintly Fiction on August 19, 2008 at 2:42 pm

‘Running on empty’ took on a whole new meaning yesterday.  Not only was I returning to Monday’s work in a job I don’t like, but my weekend had expended all my reserves.  My wife cleverly suggested that I do something that was fun that I enjoyed.  I was stressed out from a long weekend.  I went and rekindled my fire for soccer by juggling and dribbling in the park.  An hour later I came home for some a Caprisi salad with Rotisserie chicken.   Then, it was off to Barnes and Nobles. 

Surprising that a bookstore becomes a place for me to wonder, marvel, and explore.  From leather bound journals with ornate covers to the magazine section for art; I was already feeling revived.  I like stumbling upon extra sections designated for classics.  I also liked the ‘back-to-school’ section they had up reminding me of all the books I read in high school; Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheit 451, and The Great Gatsby.  You know what I am talking about.  Books we have been ‘required’ to read. 

Reading took on a new life for me when I entered college.  I had been pretty steady in the sciences through high school.  (Thanks to dad–ever the scientist)  Very competent in math and memorization, I found myself naturally competitive in the sciences.  ‘Language Arts’ were a strength for women, or so I had been told.  They were for people like my cousin, Nicole, who read teen novels like they were going out of style and wrote stories in her freetime.  I would do better with the concrete, the observable, the quantifiably prove-able; or so I thought.  Do you see what I have been dealing with?

It was no surprise, therefore, that I had been approaching writing like a task.  Going at it ‘like it was my job’!  I have very little framework to understand that the exercise of writing may require creative reserves.  I would need to fuel those reserves.  So, here I was at B&N, wandering around without any purpose.  Just exploring.

After browsing the magazine rack, I escalated upstairs.  I was not looking and yet I was.  I hoped to find a few things.  I will list them in order of attention that I gave them.  First, I was looking for a book by George MacDonald called Phantastes.  It has been a major influence to the likes of CS Lewis and GK Chesterton.  Next, I was looking for Madeleine L’Engle’s Circle of Quiet.  Finally, I had in mind a book that was read to me at some point during my education (I am guessing elementary school).  The book was about a young boy, a portal to another world and a dragon.  I don’t remember the title.  But, the story was one of my first experiences with a book that lit me with joy.  So, I secretly hoped to stumble upon this mystery book.  Are you surprised that I wandered to the children’s literature section?

Of the three, I found only George MacDonald’s Phantastes.  I was not meant to find the others at least yesterday.  As I sat reading the first few chapters to the book, I could not help but think that I was holding a key to my future in my hands.  As I trace these authors and follow the joy I find in reading them, I learn a little more about my story and dreams.

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