Okay. Wow. I’m down to the last two days of this (personal) challenge. I have to admit, I feel like I am having a Sophie’s Choice moment. And, no, that is not among the Books that Shaped My Life (although if I go for a film version of this 30-day series, it will probably make the cut). And while I could go all sour on the moment (it would, in fact, suit my mood), I’m going to refrain from “getting personal” and speak to a book that truly was among the most formative of my life.
When I was 19, I was struggling with identity and depression. I was basically getting kicked out of college (not for academic reasons; I was “unstable”). I went to a friend and told him my plight. Surprisingly, he opened his home to me and for pretty much the first time in my life I learned what unconditional love was by being part of his family. One of my “brothers” was (the future) Marcy Playground‘s lead singer, and he loved me. In the purest sense. He was amazing and unadorned and perfect. He had just finished reading a novel, Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. He inscribed it to me as a gift. I would love to say I still have it in my possession, but I passed it along to another friend (and isn’t that the true value of the print paperback… all the nooks and kindles of the world will never appreciate the inscribed paperback passed along to a friend!).
To this day, I so admire John. He was sure what he would do. And although his ride has been a roller coaster, he did it. Much like the crazed anti-hero of Still Life, he set his own course. While I am struggling to find mine, I do acknowledge those who sent me on the journey.