I had Sunday lunch with some friends and decided to hit the library afterwards. During my move, as I downsized my personal library, it seems two of my books went into the giveaway pile. One of them was entitled Foundations for Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating. Father Keating teaches centering prayer, a contemplative way to prayer without the yammering I usually hear as prayer. (How many people hear a prayer and end up with a sermon?) Lately I have noticed my focus looked like a hamster running on a wheel. On closer inspection the hamster looked terminally worried about something. I figure freshen up on centering prayer and finally read the last book about liturgy and centering prayer.
Somebody, somewhere will be very happy to get the book either at the Children’s Hospital Bookmarket, or Value Village. May be I gave it away so someone else can have it. You never know.
I am still left with no book and a need to brush up on centering prayer. That was the original goal of my library trip to borrow the copy they have in their stacks. I borrowed it once before buying it, so I just assumed it was there or out. Wrong on both counts. I can see it in the catalogue, but no item information listed. In other words no word on repairs, loss, or claimed returned. Luckily, I had another reason.
Another book ending up in the wrong pile, yet still benficial to someone, is Stephen King’s On Writing. Jackpot. The library had a copy. Most of the time I scribble down the first few digits of a call number. I will eventually get to the book, but I really wanted to pick up an unexpected find. I ended up with the Stephen King book plus three books on essay writing. I had a creative non-fiction piece under process and needed some guidance from reading essays from other writers. It’s not a A+B=C sort of instruction. I know essays have introductions, paragraphs linked to one another, then wrapped up in a conclusion like a bow on a present. When I say ‘essay’ I don’t mean stuffy school assignments. I mean extraordinary events or thoughts written like a short story. The writers almost sound like a character and some of the events outlandish enough to be fiction. Like non-fiction for the very simple reason lives lived turn into really interesting stories.
At least for the next little while I have something to write about in the essays I read. While I may have not found my originally intended book, public libraries are places awe can happen. When I walk around Millennium I do see people hunched over computers. In an age of e-mail and internet, how can someone find a job if they don’t have a computer at home? I see people doing homework at nooks and crannies around the place. Could the girl near the reference desk live in a bachelor suite, with an upstairs neighbour blaring music during one drunken night in, and a landlord not lifting a figure about it? (True story and it happened to a friend of mine while getting her library tech diploma.) What about roamers like myself who may pick up something at the right time in life? Men like Sam Katz or Rob Ford don’t understand as it looks like dollars and cents spent now than the dollars and cents of wasted potential down the drain. I think my focus is out the window, can you imagine the lack of focus on these guys? Feel free to shudder.
In the end, my brain is still like a hamster on a wheel, but I still have one particular book by Father Keating I can use. The other books serve as a way to get better with my writing. Part of keeping a blog is focusing on a task. I have a long-overdue Blog spotlight and I have a book talk to do. Keeping a blog teaches me to be gentle and turning back into a writer will not happen over. In the mean time I have a blog to pick for a spotlight and I will let you know about one particular book entitled The Eloquent Essay: An Anothology of Classic & Creative Nonfiction.
On the fiction front, I remain in Panem. Once I get out expect a book talk on Catching Fire. In the mean time keep reading and be kind to library staff.