What’s the brightest thread running through the tapestry of your life?
I do love a good metaphor, and this one is apt for expressing an important insight that has helped me focus my efforts and make peace with some difficult choices. Because one of the lessons I’ve learned the hard way is that I can’t fully pursue every passion that comes along. Interesting people are interested in a lot of interesting stuff. There aren’t enough hours in a day to dance, sing, play guitar, learn new languages, cook gourmet meals, invite friends over to share them, meet new friends, go hear some live music, travel, sew artistic clothing, paint, draw…
Recently, Hubs and I hosted a Christmas party. The menu was simple, three homemade soups, bread, salad, cheese, cake. As always, our friends rounded out the menu with delicious nibbles. After dinner and guitars, our wine-soaked conversation turned to childhood memories. My sister-in-law, an actress, theater teacher, and director, told us that she’d been shaped by her family to be a performer. She tap-danced and sang on a local TV show at age five and, except for a brief pause when her kids were small, she’s been on stage in some capacity ever since. Performing is her joy, her golden thread.
This got me to thinking. What’s my golden thread? The answer is as easy as saying yes to another Christmas cookie: books! Like my SIL, I can trace this thread to earliest childhood. My fondest early memories center around libraries, bookshops, and the shelves of books that lined our family room. When life got too hard, too scary, too boring, I’d retreat into a book. When I had to wait, and kids are always having to wait, book time. Can’t sleep late at night? Book. Long car ride? Book. Creepy guy staring at you on the bus? Book as magic shield.
My sharpest travel memories often center around books: Shakespeare and Company in Paris, the Bouquinistes on the banks of the Seine, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, Green Apple Books and City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, Powell’s Books in Portland, our own King’s Books in Tacoma, and all the gorgeous, charming independent bookshops I’ve visited, including The King’s English in Salt Lake City, which you must visit if you ever find yourself in that fair city.
Bookshops and libraries are my favorite places to be—I get positively giddy when surrounded by such riches. Is it any wonder I’ve chosen to enter that world as a writer of fiction? Duh!
This blog is entitled Late Blooming Rose for a reason: it’s only now, late in life, that I’m figuring out some of these important epiphanies. I can’t do everything I’d like to do, but I can keep following that golden thread.
What’s your golden thread? And what’s your favorite bookstore or library?