You know those projects where people take a garden gnome on trips with them and then document where the gnome has been? Gnome at the Empire State Building, Gnome at the Eiffel Tower, Gnome at the Great Wall of China…you get the picture. Right now, I am wishing that I had had the foresight to take photographs of the book that I carry with me everywhere but don’t read! I can see it now: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years at Chicago O’Hare, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years at SFO, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years at LAX, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years at Reno/Tahoe….
I actually carried two books with me when I traveled to Lake Tahoe this weekend for a wedding, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller and eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had come to believe I was the only middle aged suburban woman in the United States who hadn’t read eat, pray, love and it became my personal mission to get that done before the movie comes out on the 13th. The other book, well, it has been in almost every room of my house, in my car, on my porch and it made perfect sense to take it along for this trip. OF COURSE, I would read it while I was travelling. OF COURSE, I didn’t. This is verging on the pathetic, or perhaps pathological, at this point!
I read eat, pray, love from cover to cover–with relish (no pun intended)–all the while muttering to my self that I have a boring life. I mean REALLY boring. I also asked myself how one comes to be able to travel for a year and how can I sign up? Here I was, reading a story about someone else’s really amazing experiences. The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, was busy living her better story while I sat my sorry butt in coach crammed between one very large man and the wall of the plane going to someone else’s exciting event. Darn. Cue the soundtrack from Jaws, (da…DUHN…….da..DUHN…da.DUNHdaDUHNdaDUNH). The other book I had with me- buried beneath layers of crumbs, receipts and boarding passes-was flapping his jacket sleeves at me and daring me to get off my aforementioned sorry butt and finish reading him (it has become a he-now possessing a personality) so that I could live my better story.
Yeah, no. I didn’t pick him up once. He sat on the nightstand in Tahoe and even–now get this–went on a boat with me. I am so use to carrying him around that I didn’t even realize he(ok, that is getting creepy so he will become an it again) was in my bag. BUT, I was actually doing something I wouldn’t ordinarily do-so there. I was PARA SAILING! And he, I mean it, sat in the bottom of my bag-in the bottom of the boat-while I dangled over Lake Tahoe strapped to a parachute, swinging my legs and grinning from ear to ear. It’s not exactly a year of traveling the world but it’s a start. I may not have finished reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years bit it is already having an effect on my thinking. I find myself reflecting on the line “the character is what he does” (this may not be verbatim but it captures the intent). Who do I want my character to be? Too complex for me to jump into with both feet right now-parachute or no parachute-but at least I know I want my character to do something. So, now instead of boring, middle aged, suburban housewife as my character description I am now a not so boring, middle aged, suburban housewife who para sails. Woot!
Baby steps my friends, baby steps.
And, yes, I am going to read the book-this week-I really mean it. REALLY!