What does your home state smell like? Or am I the only one who notices these things?
Have you ever made up stories about the characters in the clouds?
Focus on a place. Every place and every crowd has its own feeling, its own presence. Listen to the murmur—is it happy or sad? Listen to the lit of the voices, some of them rising to an excited descant and some of them whispering the lowest base. Look at the sea of black suits punctuated by an exclamation point of sportswear, or a sea of sportswear contrasting with a lone suit. Is this a place of business or pleasure—of beginning or ending?
Focus on an individual. What are they wearing? Do they match the crowd around them (and yes, five people in a doctors office is a crowd)? Maybe they are perched on the edge of their chair, pink with excitement. Maybe they are sitting slouched and sullen, a teenager who refuses to enjoy their afternoon. And maybe they are not sitting at all, but are pacing and pacing and pacing, endlessly checking their phone. What story does their face tell? Decided dedication to the task at hand or emotional distance from all who are present? Boredom? Fury? Years of ups and downs, experiences and memories—or hours of cosmetic surgery? Who do they belong with out of all the people—or do they belong with no one at all? Why are they here, joining you in this moment in time? You will be surprised how much you can enjoy someone by watching them and learning about them. It causes you to marvel at the uniqueness of the people God created.
Do you like to people watch? What are some of the funniest things that you've seen?
My complete head over heels character love for Percy Jackson? Totally different, because he’s everything I’ve never been, never could be, and have always secretly wanted to experience. I mean, he’s not the most talented at planning things in advance, keeping his mouth shut, or excelling at academic work (things that I’m good at). He’s the snarktastic (that’s a word now, I say it all the time 😉) teenage guy that improvises and blows things up and never worries to much about point B when he’s at point A. These are the characters that we live vicariously through, because their lives and minds are so different than ours.
And sometimes it seems as if we don’t pick favorite characters, they pick us. Jo wasn’t my favorite March sister because I wanted her to be—but because she was a mirror to my own frustrations and writerly aspirations. Or Anne, of Green Gables fame. She was a spunky, talkative child trying to navigate an older person’s world, find her own way without breaking Marilla’s rules (or heart), and not be mocked for using big words in the process. I could understand that. I was living that.
The characters we cling to give us a window into who we want to be on our best day, who we fantasize about being on random days, and who we really are every day.
What are some of your favorite characters?
But next time the list is almost entirely new. I do have favorites when it comes to books—I really do. It’s just that they don’t stay favorites for long. It is like brief but intense summer friendships (I was a counsellor at a children’s camp last summer. Trust me, they are very brief but very intense). As soon as you think that you’ve got a handle on the top five, there is a new face and a new entry. And yet…there are a few books that I come back to time and time again. It’s a miscellaneous list, a hodgepodge of genres and authors. But somehow, no matter what I am reading and enjoying, at least one of these titles makes it onto my list.
The Chronicles of Narnia, by CS Lewis. This shouldn’t be a surprise, if you’ve been reading the blog for very long at all. Narnia for me is a wonderful place where young people get old responsibilities and magic is always around the corner. Whichever book I have read most recently is the one I mention by name, recently that’s been mainly The Magician’s Nephew or The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Winnie the Pooh, by AA Milne. These books have taught me more about human nature than most of the phycology books that I have picked up. It’s amazing how deeply drawn a boy’s collection of stuffed animals can be.
Kidnapped, by Robert Luis Stevenson. Something about the wild highlands and the fierce loyalty of Alan Breck made a mark on me that I can never remove.
Emma, by Jane Austen. Yes, Emma is spoiled. Yes, I sometimes want to scream when she tells other people how to feel. But Mr. Knightly makes it all worth it.
Start, by Jon Acuff. Hands down one of the best business books ever written. It’s also really funny, which is probably one of the reasons that it is such a favorite.
Love Does, by Bob Goff. Part memoir, part encouragement, totally awesome. The fearless love that Bob Goff lives his life with will change yours.
I can't help but ask you: What are some of your favorite books?