A few days ago, I signed a petition to end efforts to ban socially relevant books in prisons. Alice Walker was on that list!!! In my opinion, reducing crime in this country means including more ideas, and readers of ideas, in the conversation, rather than excluding them.
It’s not really much of a surprise. Books have been huge in my life since my days of Scamper Squirrel, long before I could pronounce it, let alone actually read it. Then, Sally, Dick, and Jane came along with a massive sense of empowerment. I could actually read about them all on my own. I especially liked Spot!
These days, books are still huge in my life. I’ve even written a few! The stack, above, are some of my long term most essential friends, along with some new additions to my world view.
I’ll admit that, on the surface, they may not all seem to play well together and yet, in my mind, they do.
What they all have in common is a journey toward learning more stories. More life-giving stories.
Now, I’ll admit that not all stories work equally well for me. I skip really violent tales. And I don’t relate all that well to science fiction, though I’m really glad it’s there, especially for those like one of my granddaughters who became a way more confident reader when she discovered sci fi books. I do like historical things, and books with a lot of symbolism, and just about anything that’s really, really well written.
You probably have your favorites, too, and they don’t have to be the same as mine.
Here’s the way I think about many of these issues…
Today is the eve of the Jewish New Year and the beginning of Rosh Hashana, for which the appropriate greeting is shanah tovah, which means, “good year.” According the the Hebrew calendar, this begins the year numbered 5780.
It is a time of prayer and self-reflection and, as I learned yesterday, part of the tradition is to eat apples and honey for a sweet year.
These are not the traditions with which I was raised, though they are, in some senses, my traditions as well, because they are the traditions of the people who came before some of the people who became mine. And also the traditions of those who have become mine more recently.
There’s a big neuro-linguistic programming shift lurking in that last thought.
It’s about sorting for same rather than different.
Or, to put it another way, it’s about the things which connect us, rather than things which may, through some filters, seem to divide us.
And many, many of those things are stories. Stories with words and stories in images and stories of relationship.
Stories of newness.
So, Shanah Tovah, to you and yours. May we share our stories and learn those of others and look forward to a sweet future together!