Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thursday Thoughts...

Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind)

We all have them - those books that have played an important part in our lives; that comforted us; helped us understand we weren't alone; guided us; opened our minds to new ways of thinking or being; gave us the ah-ha moment or flash of insight that suddenly made something make sense. That made their way into our heart.

We recall these books - we may have underlined them, or written passages down in a notebook; we might have quoted them to friends or to lovers; we might have tagged them with sticky notes; and we often carry them with us across relationships and cities. And still we find meaning in them.

I recall giving the graduation speech at my College and including a quote from Richard Bach's Illusions

" You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true.
     You may have to work for it, however".

I read that again now and realise I still believe in it. I have somehow entwined that thought into the framework of my life and have carried that sense of believing in something and believing I/you/we can make it happen.

There was power in that thought and without being silly about it; I was able to take the sense of it and use it as a positive in my life - it prepared me to do hard work; to accept that nothing comes for nothing; and it gave me a sense that in part, I could control my destiny. Powerful thoughts and understandings for a 17 year old about to head off to University.

I have enjoyed this reflection, this pondering, and confirmation that some books do "sculpt a palace in our memory to which...we will return".

Image courtesy of teachingliteracy


  1. Thought provoking and a wonderful read. I have read Illusions and it spoke to me also, although my instincts told me I already knew it. But was I applying it? Books come into our lives to remind us of what we already know.

  2. Good post, F. Yours and Bach's belief in the link between diligence and good fortune reminds me of the quote that Google attributes to Samuel Goldwyn but may have occurred in other forms from other thinkers: "the harder I work the luckier I get" Too many people in the arts community seem unwilling to work hard, hoping for some lucky break or destined happening. But you have to go find your lucky break sometime, meet it more than halfway, and show up with all your wits and works ready. Even then, no guarantees, but most of the time, hard work does pay off. And it even feels good! Best to you and thanks for this post.

  3. A big AMEN to this post, Fiona, and to the magic of language and the book!

  4. Thanks again!
    Louise - I think you're right about often knowing things and being reminded, or maybe just getting confirmation. Not everything I have read and believed has stayed with me - but certain truths do.

    TT/G - great thoughts! I can't bear the wait and see; or leave it to the universe or destiny ideas! I agree you kind of make your own luck; but also that sometimes luck just finds you. A combination of serendipity and hard work probably produces the best results for me.

    Patti - yes, the power of language and books...


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.