My family loved to backpack in the high Sierras. One year, after a refreshing afternoon rain, my youngest child, about seven at the time, looked down at his feet and picked up something shiny. It was a perfectly formed arrowhead of black obsidian. Evidently the rain had washed it out from an ancient hiding place. What a treasure the rain revealed!
In Hawai`i, we have the saying “no rain, no rainbows.” Too often we concentrate on the rain and neglect an openness to the treasures afterward.
What riches or inner resources have you discovered after the rains in your life?
“For centuries, women and men have sought guidance and counsel to help them in processes of change, healing, and transformation.”
That is the first sentence in the introduction to my book, Feral Fables. How many of us have checked the I Ching, or Animal Medicine cards, or the Tarot or even the daily horoscope to see what they have to say to us? Not only is it fun, but it also can be enlightening in some strange, unexplainable way.
We are spoken to through many avenues. Insights may come like lightning bolts or in a still, small voice. A friend says something that strikes us as relevant to a question we’ve pondered. We hear a conversation that brings sudden understanding to a problem. A dream reveals an answer to a situation. We read a story that becomes more significant each time we read it.
Such is the nature of these fables. This is the sort of book you can tuck in your purse or briefcase and always have handy. At odd moments, you can pick a fable at random to see what meaning it can bring to your life. Whether you are male or female, youth or elder, there will be something of value in each brief fable. I have added a few questions at the end of each fable to start your thinking process.
What is a fable anyway? The dictionary describes it as “a fictitious story meant to teach a moral lesson.” I believe it is more than just a moral lesson. I prefer to say that it shows us “Truth” greater than “truth.” I wrote these to use as I worked with psychology clients who were looking for that Truth in their lives. You can do the same for yourself.
You can read these fables with the intention of finding clarity on some issue in your life, or maybe the serendipity will surprise you when you read them just for fun. In either case, please let me know your reaction to these wild tales.
As a former substance abuse counselor, I know that a behavior is considered an addiction if it interferes with your life and creates a problem. This leads me to wonder if I have a true “addiction,” like some people have an addiction with substances (legal or illegal) and behaviors (legal or illegal). If not an addiction, it is certainly a “dependency.” Anyone interested in a 12-step program for bookaholics?
Does being a biblioholic disrupt or interfere with my life, or cause a problem? Only when I need to move all these books from one home to another!
I started checking the internet to see if there was such a word as biblioholism or if a group existed for bookaholics. Try looking up either of those words and you’ll see how many sites address this very thing. I found a site that gives reader comments that complete the statement “You know you’re a bookaholic when…” All of the comments there are true of me, and my favorite is “…when you select your handbags based on whether they are big enough to fit a book.”
No matter where I go, I have a book in my purse. You just never know when you’ll have a couple of minutes to read a paragraph or two while you wait for someone to show up, or for your car to be serviced, for instance. And sometimes I carry a book with the sole intent of going somewhere only to read. I have a different book (sometimes a stack of books) sitting next to each of my reading places, and I go back to read some of my favorites many times.
I found one site that seems to have disappeared, which gave an excellent definition of “biblioholism” that describes me exactly (and probably you, too). “Biblio” means “book,” so this site states that biblioholism is “the habitual longing to purchase, read, store, admire and consume books in excess.”
The only feature of biblioholism that definition doesn’t mention is writing. I do an obsessive amount of that, as well, but I seldom bother to market what I write. (And that’s another whole problem I need to address at some point.) I write in several genres, usually with several in various stages of completion at a time.
Yes, I also read (and write) e-books, but nothing will ever replace the feel of paper as I turn each page. When I am forced to part with books, it’s as if I’m killing my children! Rather than give away the thousands of books I have, I simply have more bookshelves built.
“You know you’re a bookaholic when _______.” You might fill in the blank on this statement and find out something about yourself. Put your answer in the comments. I’d love to see it.
Friends often ask how I get so much writing accomplished. The answer is simple – I finally retired from my last career.
I was in the field of psychology for several years, then I spent several decades as a full-time pastor and counselor in a mainline denomination. As I finished up my last few years in a local church here in Hawai`i, I began teaching part-time for our community college.
By the time I retired from ministry, I was teaching fulltime at the college and didn’t stop until September 2021. I was an Associate Professor of psychology when I retired eight months ago.
The first six months of retirement were difficult for me. I had never been without a job or career of some sort since the age of sixteen. Perhaps many of you can relate.
I was lost. Who am I? Now what? Is death the next step? What is life about?
Recently, I was looking through old journals to find something I thought I needed. I don’t even remember what that was now, but a phrase in my journals kept coming up over and over: “I just wish I could stay home and write.”
I had been writing bits and pieces here and there, and then I would put it all aside to grade a stack of papers or prepare a sermon, see a client or prepare a class lecture. By the time I retired, my computer held several novels and bits of books and articles, plus notes on other work, and I had published a self-help e-book online. In my mind, none of that counted for anything.
Retirement gave me the opportunity to put it all together and get published. The e-book is now in paperback form, and I have serious notes on the next two books of my mystery series.
I tell this story to remind you (and myself) that little bits of writing here and there do add up. Take those few minutes you have on the way to work, or early in the morning before the household wakes up, or instead of watching TV, or while you are nursing a baby, or whatever else you do. Those things are important, but so is your writing habit.
It doesn’t need to be quality time or quality writing at this point, but it needs to be something. If you are a writer, then write. You can edit and put it all together later, but all famous authors remind us to write something every day.
When I recently found myself bored with my current writing projects, my brother suggested that I start something completely new, and set aside all the “old” stuff I’d been working on.
He said “You don’t need to suffer the discouragement of being rejected. After all, you’re a different person now and a lot more experienced.” How true!
Back in the day of typewriters, ribbons, and carbon paper (yes, I’m that old), sliding a fresh sheet of paper between the rollers always gave a sense of new possibilities. There were times I used one piece of carbon paper so long that it was almost in shreds. And a new ribbon with freshly cleaned keys (remember the smell of that cleaning fluid?) made the manuscript look crisp.
There is something cleansing to see a pile of wadded up paper on the floor after numerous fresh starts.
When word processors finally came into being, there were many articles in writing magazines about whether that would change the way authors write. The consensus seemed to be that it would take away our creativity! There may have been something to those worries.
I love having a legal-sized yellow pad handy beside me in the car for scribbling down notes as ideas pop into my head. That is still the most reliable way for me to capture those fleeting thoughts. Sure, I have a cell phone that takes notes when I’m not near my laptop, but nothing beats the old-fashioned convenience of a pen or pencil and paper.
There is at least one book I’m reading in each room (or in the car or in my purse) accompanied by a small notebook and pen for seizing inspirations.
Sometimes starting a fresh new page is the necessary impetus for many things in life, isn’t it? New curtains, rearranging the furniture, or even a new house brings new energy. Each new semester of school brought hope of brilliant and eager students, although I enjoyed most of my “old” students, as well. Fresh soil in planting beds brings anticipation of new growth.
Perhaps someday, I will return to the “old” written stuff and recognize its worth – or its worthlessness!
As the year 2021 draws to a close, what of the “old” do we need to set aside to allow room for the “new” to flow into our lives?
A hui hou!
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