Over at the blog “Considerations,” David Warkentin tells how he recently spent a couple hours in the library of Douglas College, being a book. It was part of the Living Library, a movement designed to “promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding” amidst the diversity of our pluralistic world. It’s all about “engaging people,” he explains, “instead of just borrowing books.” David chose the title “Engaging Our Stories – Living Amidst Spiritual and Religious Diversity” for his book-self, and people could “borrow” him for up to a half-hour to discuss anything related to his topic.
This sounded like a wonderful idea, and it got me thinking. What book could I be?
Most days I’m not an expert at anything, but I imagined for a moment that I might land in the “how-to” section of the library. Next I had some fun at my bookshelves, perusing them for what title(s) I might choose for myself. Here’s what I came up with — borrowing only the title, please realize, and not the contents!
1. On the writing life.
Let’s see… How about Great Expectations (Dickens), or, continuing the metaphor more realistically, All Things Are Labor (Arnoldi). No, that just sounds pretentious. I think Wilderness Tips (Atwood) should do it here.
2. On marriage.
Well, besides 35 years of experience, what do I know? Two Solitudes (MacLennan) for starters. Marriage is good and definitely worth the perseverance, though, so let’s call me-on-marriage The Progress of Love (Munro).
3. On parenting.
Oh my, the possibilities are endless here! Expensive People (Oates), or Here Be Dragons (Newman). A Multitude of Sins (Ford) — mine, I mean — and then they’re Gone with the Wind (Mitchell). On balance, though, A Good House (Burnard). But it all comes down to two pieces of advice: See the Child (Bergen) and Mercy Among the Children (Richards).
4. On the life of faith.
Well, that’s The Heart of the Matter (Greene) and some days, Such a Long Journey (Mistry). But perhaps what I’d like to get at is mystery and very life itself. How about Breathing Lessons (Tyler)?
5. On becoming an “elder” (chronologically, that is, not a position in the church).
Just at the very beginning here, so what I know so far is Independence Day (Ford), and The Reprieve (Sartre). Also a chance for Final Payments (Gordon) in a metaphorical sense, though when the recession eats at our RSPs, literally too. One faces ahead The Remains of the Day (Ishiguro), finds oneself in The Summer before the Dark (Lessing). The dark of death, yes, but only as transition. On, on, on, then, to The Radiant Way (Drabble).
(Thanks, D.W., for the idea!)