A few weeks ago, in my graphic memoir course, I was asked to reflect on books I read when I was about 8 to 13. It was a surprisingly daunting task for me. I remembered some books, including a series, but I was surprised by my short list as I had a bookcase full of books!
I enjoyed reading, although as a kid, I also loved playing outside with friends in the neighborhood, going for long walks with my best friend and my dog, doing craft projects, and going to new places. I felt like I must be forgetting some important books because I really did love reading.
So in my effort to discover more books, I posted about the challenge I was having on Facebook. And happily, many folks responded, refreshing my memory and expanding my list a bit, which now includes:
- Pippi Longstocking
- Nancy Drew
- Walter Farley series about horses
- Misty of Chincoteague
- Winnie the Pooh
- Peanuts comics
I would certainly have more titles to add to the list if I visited the local library…
Perhaps even more important than the list’s creation was identifying themes in reviewing the books that mattered most to me. The theme that stood out for me was that of girls having adventures. It is truly one of the threads in the tapestry of my life. I am a girl who is continuously seeking and having adventures!
Whether you are thinking about your youth before adolescence, the books you’ve read, and their influence on your life, or choosing to reflect on the same questions from your reading over the past few years, what do you discover?
What themes or threads weave together to create your tapestry?
What do you make of your answers? What intrigues you?
The books I’ve been reading over the past few years, spanning my professional and personal lives, reveal additional themes. From a quick mental review and glance at my bookcase, I discover new threads:
- my continuing interest in education, neuroscience, interpersonal communication, compassion, resilience, healing through breathwork, Emotional Freedom Techniques, and meditation
- my search for meaning
- ways to increase connection with myself and others (Nonviolent Communication)
- spirituality and Buddhism
- living life to the fullest/living life every day, dying, death, ritual creation
- creating a daily practice, both in my professional life—around drawing—and in my personal life around spirituality
- different facets of writing—haiku and graphic memoir
- in fiction, memoirs, autobiographies, and novels, I choose to read women authors; in nonfiction and poetry, I read a diversity of authors
If I go further afield and consider videos and podcasts, that might include learning more about different forms of craft and art—Zentangle, bookmaking, watercolors, and fluid acrylic painting.
I am delighted to focus on the details of periods of my life, reflect on the subtext of what appear to be almost random choices and dive into a more rich understanding of who I am in the world.
I wonder how books have influenced you at different times in your life. I hope you will share your insights with me.