I can hear the UPS truck engine roar and groan as it climbs the hill around the corner from my home. This is a great sound, a comforting sound, because 98% of the time there is a delivery with my name on it.
I lean back in my study chair just enough to see the big brown vehicle lurch to a stop. Next, there’s a quick peak in tension. “What’s he got for me today? Is it ‘Mo Meta Blues’, ‘Waking Up’, that best-reviewed translation of the ‘Pali Cannon’ that just seemed like a must have for the shelf?”
The deliver guy pop’s out from his cabin like a hyper-energized and timely meerkat in little freshly pressed and cuffed brown shorts. His box is definitely book shaped. He knocks, leaves, I scoop up my parcel, open, flip, feel, inspect, admire, skim, and all around just smile about as hard as I ever smile. Why? Because nothing beats the feeling of a new book in hand.
It’s not all high. Part of me feels guilty. Maybe my wife is absolutely right about this. “How could you possibly ever read all of those books you buy? You are so weird.” For anyone that might feel like rushing to my defense, let me admit now that she’s absolutely right. I cannot read all of these pages, which really bum’s me out. It means admitting that some pearls will always remain unknown…Dang.
Also, I feel guilty that maybe I’m rushing through many of these volume’s, or maybe just giving up before all of the nuggets are found. That play’s on a common misconception, actually. One that I hold. Those books should be absorbed fully, one at a time, single file. You should feel bad about not finishing a piece, even if you are honestly bored to fucking tears and fantastically disinterested in the topic.
I remind myself of the lesson that Hitch shared years ago. If I may paraphrase, “When you find yourself feeling less than, inferior to, and generally not good enough, remind yourself that even those you now admire and envy are only mammals. They are 100% identical to you in every way, so take your shot.”
“When you find yourself feeling less than, inferior to, and generally not good enough, remind yourself that even those you now admire and envy are only mammals. They are 100% identical to you in every way, so take your shot.”
There are readers out there. They get lost in the story, in the plot. They immerse themselves fully into the pages, living it, crying over it, reinventing themselves thanks to it. But that’s not me. I’m really nothing more than a treasure hunter. An antique collector. An ever more talented and inspired salvage artist. To me every book is a new field of junk that I’ve stumbled upon. I didn’t plan it. I simply took a recommendation, or maybe I got lucky enough to find it all on my own. But I’m here, and I’m looking for anything that catches my eye.
Not pretense. No expectation. No plan. That’s not how any prospector worth his weight finds anything unique and valuable. You stumble around with skill, friends, that’s the key. You get a feel for it with repetition. You dig in, flip around, get lost where you naturally want to get lost. You will remember what counts, but you make your notes. If the pages do not inspire, you move along. There will always be empty fields.
That’s just the point. Someday’s there will be too many ideas, too much to learn, too much stuff that you could make and share. It’s terribly overwhelming in the best sort of way. Other days you get just enough to keep you busy. Sometimes, the looking get’s so tough that you feel like you might never have a decent idea ever again. It’s all the same, because here’s the great secret to wisdom. Are you ready?
It doesn’t really matter what you find, or how much. The only thing that matters is that you search. Every day. At every opportunity. Look around for something worth remembering. Move along if you have to, there’s plenty to find. And when you do find it, take it in fully. Even if it’s heavy. Even if it needs some work…Take it in. The feeling you’ll get goes beyond what the words can describe. Give it a try.
The only thing that matters is that you search. Every day. At every opportunity. Look around for something worth remembering.
No, I don’t need this latest book. There are hundreds of other things I could have spent that $26 on, believe me. But here’s the way I see it. This book might only have one nugget, one pearl, or one jewel in the entirety of its 282 pages. I’ll take that deal every time, because for $26 I just found a jewel that might sit atop of my latest scrap reading lamp. When I hit the power the room and my mind alike are going to shine. Talk about money well spent, what else are you looking for out there?