Thoreau went to the woods to suck the marrow out of life; here, I hope to drain every drop from the books I read, rather than tossing them aside and saying vaguely, “Oh yes, I read that once,” when they come up in conversation.
I’m a Christ-follower, a wife, a mother, a wannabe novelist (with a complete manuscript, no less!), and—of course—a reader. Stick around, poke around, speak up, and enjoy…and definitely recommend your favorites, because my mile-long to-be-read list could always be longer!
World Domination vs. Ordinary Days
I read–and enjoyed–two contrasting books while vacationing last week.
The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau is about how to “set your own rules, live the life you want, and change the world,” touting follow-your-bliss over sticking in a secure-but-boring job and lots of travel.
The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison, about a woman’s yearning for change from her supremely happy (if a bit confined) suburban existence that led to selling her family’s house and being in a sense homeless for three years (three years of having teenage boys, no less) as they sought a new life in a small country town, slowly building their dream house.
Guillebeau’s enthusiasm is contagious; I dropped the book several times to brain dump book and blog ideas. However, he comes off a bit haughty and my-way-or-the-highway…or maybe my-way-or-a-boring-and-miserable-life.
And I’ve realized I’ve reached the end of my study in another genre: live-your-dream-by-quitting-your-stifling-job how-to books. Because here’s the thing…I’m living my dream! I have a husband, a baby, and a novel I’m in the process of publishing! I cook and clean (well, I try to motivate myself to clean…), I read books with my daughter and watch her play and grow, I read what I want and get more than enough TV time, and I created a schedule that gives me time to pursue my publishing dreams. My husband and extended family are entirely supportive. In other words, I have arrived on the live-your-dream scale! Hooray!
On the flip side of breaking out and conquering the world, Kenison’s book urges the reader to slow down and enjoy everything about life in the here and now because it changes so quickly. This book reminded me how quickly kids grow and will be gone…it also reminded me how much I love a good memoir. Maybe I can replace my live-your-dream books with memoirs…
Anyway, here are my favorite takeaways from The Art of Non-Conformity:
“Create a continual metric for your work,” is something that I was doing while drafting my novel but have stopped since hitting my editing phase…I need to figure that out and soon (216).
“You may even need to devote extended periods of time to what I call ‘radical exclusion,’ or shutting out absolutely anything that serves as a distraction from your key priorities…Bill Gates famously did this during his ‘Think Weeks,’ where twice a year he would shut out all distractions and head into a room of reading material for several days at a time. An aide would bring in grilled cheese sandwiches and diet soda twice a day, and Gates would plot the future of Microsoft’s world domination strategy” (176). Oh how I wish I could lock myself away and be sent grilled cheese sandwiches and diet soda at my bidding…not likely to happen any time soon in this momma’s life!
I’ll follow up with quotes from Kenison’s book next time; for now, I’m off to catch up on some Netflix and one-on-one time with the Professor after he spent a looooooong week at a microbiology conference.