I think I had forgotten. I think I had let it go too long. Had I become afraid? Had I become lazy, or busy, or trying to be selfless, or what? I don't know. Yesterday I wrote a blog about neglected old friends, referring to my old hobby of scrapbooking, and the renewal of my acquaintance with layouts that had been so much apart of my life. Now I am meeting another old friend; why have I pushed aside my love affair with fiction?
I have spent my life reading. It is what I do. There is no greater source for learning and expanding one's mind. But for some reason, I have neglected reading for reading's sake. I have neglected fiction. I have immersed myself in the scriptures. I have immersed myself in non-fiction and don't regret a minute of it. But that needn't be all there is. How had I forgotten?
I am finally remembering the joy that comes from being so deeply within a story that one temporarily leaves behind reality. At the recommendation of my sweet daughter, I have picked up a book, not to learn (and yet I have); not to explore (and yet I have); not to educate (and yet I have). I have gotten back in touch with the dream world of living life through another's eyes, through another's footsteps, through another's thoughts.
I have come to know another person, who isn't even real, and yet who I wish so desperately that she was. Maybe I wish she was real, because I, in some way, wish that I were more like her. I want to not be encumbered with worry, and insecurity. I want to live my life freely without keeping in check every personal expression, fearing that others may not understand or approve. I want to befriend the friendless. I want to do expressions of kindness just for the sake of brightening someone's day. And if I want to wear a long dress, strum a ukelele, and sing as if nobody were listening, then maybe, just maybe, I will.
I just finished the sequel to Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl. It is entitled Love, Stargirl. It is quite different from the first one. Among the many memorable parts, the following was the most important for me, the one that woke me up, the one that slapped me upside the head:
"Where are you going?" he said.
"Porch. Check the snow."
The way he said it, I stopped. I sat back down.
He looked at me across the table. "Silly worries don't become you."
Fiction will never replace the scriptures. That's okay. I have the scriptures, too. But I don't know of anything that can replace the suspending of disbelief, which enables one to enter into a world of the storyteller's creation; which enables one to see inside someone else thoughts and to walk in someone else's shoes.
Hello again, my old friend. I have missed you.