Friday, December 26, 2008

Diving In

When entering a swimming pool some folks tentatively dangle their toes, then SLOWLY inch their way in with many a sharp intake of breath as the water hits tender places. Others just dive right in. Which are you? With me, temperature makes all the difference. In cold water I'm reticent, forcing myself into submersion inch by excruciating inch. In warmer water I take the sudden plunge.

Likewise, with reading, some books seem to invite me to just jump into them with wild abandon, immediately immersing myself into the world between the pages. Other books I wrestle with, fitfully starting and stopping, initially holding back my full engagement. But what makes the difference? What criteria establishes the "temperature" for how I relate to the printed word?

Part of it, I suppose, is WHY I chose the book. Is it something that will be good for me, like vitamins and a high fiber diet? Something I SHOULD read? (ugh!) Part of it is basic style of the book.

I will admit I was feeling a teensy bit reticent about starting our January book - Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It would not have been my first choice. But I had the book on hand, so I agreed to begin there. What was the source of these niggling reservations I had about this book? Well, some of the people who I had heard rave about the book in the past were...let's just say a little bit OUT THERE metaphysically speaking. That gave me pause. And I really wasn't sure how interested I would be to read about one woman's ongoing navel gazing as she tries to find meaning and balance in life after a messy divorce.

But I have a few days off for the holidays so I decided I'd go ahead and jump in.

I'm about 45 pages into the book so far, and suprisingly, I am finding myself positively DELIGHTED by the pace and tone of what I am reading. Some of the sentences are positively delicious. Some of the passages so closely describe some of my own private feelings and fears it is as if the author had been rooting around in my underwear drawer. Clearly, this is a book I can relate to.

These are some of the tidbits I have particularly savored:

"I could remain totally celbate except for keeping a pair of handsome twenty-five-year-old Italian twin brothers as lovers. Which was slightly reminiscent of a freind of mine who is vegetarian except for bacon." (Gilbert p 8)

"Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it's what you want before you commit." (Gilbert p 9)

"he was still my lighthouse and my albatross in equal measure. The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying." (Gilbert p 12)

Where I really found myself smacked between the eyes with self recognition comes over on the 14th segment - page 42-43. Man, oh man, did I see myself in those words...

So ladies (or gents, as the case may be) any of you who are reading this with us, let's get going cause I REALLY want to talk about this with some of you and get your perspective.

Go ahead, Dive right in.


  1. I went to the library yesterday and ordered my copy - it won't be in until the 31st. I was thinking maybe I'd try the other library today, cause I want to get started.

    By the way, I inch my way in as well. Diving leads to drowning (via too much water in my nose). Thank goodness there's no water involved in reading!

  2. I am literally waiting until Jan 1st. to begin reading EPL. As for inching or diving. . .it depends. If I like the book you may as well not even call because my nose will be in the book until it is done. If I don't like the book or the book just goes to a disturbing place, I inch.

    In life I think and plan to do things for a long, long, time (a mental inch perhaps?). But when D-day comes it is cold turkey - I dive in.

  3. My local library had to order the book for me so I haven't started reading it yet. I look forward to doing so as it is probably something different from what I usually read.