We Call it a Book Club

And it is—sort of.
Each month we choose a book to read and then gather together to discuss it because that’s what book clubs are about. Right? It sounded so simplistic in the beginning, just a fun thing to do. It was all about the reading and well, many of us like to read, some of us would like to read more. We started out with goal. A book a month.

And so the East Dalhousie Book Club came into being.
The first one of its kind. Now that’s remarkable! I like firsts.

And so we called it a book club.

And it is—sort of. But it turns out it’s much more than reading. It’s about taking the time to slow down and spend some alone time with the person you should know best in this world—You. We make ourselves be too busy-–yes, make. We hurry from one task to another. We agree to take on too many things for fear that we’ll let someone down when the person we’re really letting down is ourselves. We don’t take time to dream or to daydream or to pretend. How can we expect to create things in our lives if we don’t dream them into being first? Thoughts come first. Every thing that is created in the world first begins with a thought, an image, a desire, a want, a wish, a hope. We sometimes forget all the things that we refer to as the “little things” in life, although I’ve come to understand that most of the “little things” really amount to big things if we’re being perfectly honest. Books allow us to dream, to think, to imagine, to desire, to want, to wish, to hope. All those big “little things” we push aside because we’re too darn busy.

We call it a book club.
And it is—sort of.
It’s an exchange of ideas, the expressing of one’s self through the spoken word about the written word. It’s communication and the gathering of people who might not otherwise find a reason to gather– to speak, to express, to examine, to find out exactly what your view is on a particular subject. We don’t always know what our thoughts are about something until we open ourselves up and start talking. It’s about discovering who we are, our likes and dislikes, the things that make us happy or sad or angry. All these things we give voice to during our book club discussions. One voice is as important as another. We share.

What I have learned is that even if a particular book isn’t my cup of tea, the themes within that story are things I can relate to on some level. I believe that no matter how our lives differ, we all can relate to one another at least on an emotional level. We all experience emotions even though we all follow a different path in life. We’ve all experienced sadness, happiness, joy,fear. As a child growing up I had the sense that certain emotions were a bad, the ones that were looked at as negative. I thought it was wrong to say that something made me angry or caused me to shed tears, made me afraid. But I know now, we can learn from the negative as well as the positive because sometimes life doesn’t always give us the results we’d like. We can either give in and call it quits or we can dig deeper and keep trying until we finally get the intended results. Sometimes the lesson we learn need to come from those failed attempts.

We call it a book club
.
And it is—sort of. Because life is more about the unseen than the seen. Always has been for me at least. It’s not about the amount of stuff we acquire or the job we do, but the lives we touch. It’s about taking the time to listen, to offer compassion; it’s about lending a helping a hand, and being a friend, giving without looking for recognition. And above all it’s about love. And when we explore who we really are on the inside we are much more effective in the world. We learn. We love. We live.

We call it a book club.
And it is—sort of. It’s about opening your mind to new ideas, being willing to learn about something you know nothing about. It’s about learning to bend, to accept that ours is not the only way. It’s about challenging our beliefs, our thoughts, and our morals.

We call it a book club, because everything has to be called something, and book club is much shorter than the post I’ve just written.

Do you belong to a book club? How has that experience been for you?

Author Unknown

Have you ever wondered who Anonymous is? Now, I’m speaking about Anonymous in the literary sense. You know, those  people who penned the perfect poem, the absolute sublime quote that gets to the heart of our very existence. The internet is filled with these lyrical expressions that all go under the name of Anonymous or Unknown, or Author Unknown. But that is impossible of course. Someone somewhere knows, or knew, who that unknown scribe was, the scribe themselves if no one else. Words do not miraculously appear into the world all on their own. There has to be someone behind them.

A bit of poking around and I quickly discovered mountains of anonymous quotes. Here are a few that I kind of like. Seriously, the list could go on forever.

“Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.” 

 “Everything has been figured out, except how to live.” 

 “Life is not what you live but what you love” 

 “A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can from a mountain 

 “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” 

I’m sure there are instances where the writer didn’t start out as “Anonymous” but somewhere along the way someone used their quote without remembering who the author was and, presto, they suddenly became “Anonymous.” But for the most part I think of these anonymous writers as people who perhaps wanted to draw more attention to their words of wisdom then themselves.

I do think there is something to be said about the anonymous writer, who can set their inner most thoughts down without fear or judgment of those around them. Writing is one of those professions that really puts the writer out there under public scrutiny. You only need look at some of the book reviews on Goodreads to know what I’m talking about. I’ve read some pretty despairing comments about some of my best beloved authors and books that I absolutely loved.

Expressing oneself though the written word is a little tricky by times— words of course being as powerful as they are whether spoken, written or thought. It is our way of communicating, of showing others another way of viewing the world. While some try to force their idea onto others, many people use words as a vehicle to put their ideas, believes, values, and thoughts about life into the world, and hopefully, others will appreciate what the author has to say. Some writers do this by creating people, places and events, and if we take time to examine the words within those stories we’ll often find some hidden treasure. Other writers don’t shy away from what it is they wish to express. They can get down to the real nitty-gritty of what’s on their minds. And thank goodness for that since not everyone is interested in treasure-hunting nor do they have the tools to unlock those buried nuggets. Some of us simply read for the love of a good story, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I have wondered from time to time what words would surface in my writing if I were anonymous. I do think that it would make a difference in the stories, or even blog posts, that I might produce. I’m sure there are times when many writers pull back, even a little, for fear of what others might think or wonder about them. I’ve had people say, “I don’t know what thoughts go through your head” or that my thoughts even scare them. Honestly, I think we all have our share of scary thoughts that go no farther than our own minds. Writers put these thoughts on paper for everyone to see, and that’s where the difference comes in.

Anonymous brings freedom with it, the shedding off of people’s judgment of our words and perhaps we’d be more willing to share the thoughts of “Anonymous”, hand down those precious words though the ages than, say, some writer with the last name “Best.” That’s just an example, I’m not insinuating that my words are profound or at all inspiring, but you know what I mean.

Have you ever given thought to the “Anonymous” writer? If you were “Anonymous” do you think it would change the way you express yourself in the world?

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