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Books, friends find their way into our lives at the right times
(Today's guest blogger is Gene Downs, my friend and writer.)
How many times have you picked up a book, started to read it and, within a few pages, decided that this is not the right time? Maybe later, you sigh. Then a few weeks, months or years down the road, you discover that it speaks to your soul.
So often, books come to us — and we to them — at just the right magical moment. We have the empathy that allows us to relate to them, the experience to identify with them and the time to devote to them. If you ever get through “In Search of Lost Time,” it will probably be after starting and stopping, starting and stopping … and then, one day, starting and not stopping for any power on earth.
It works both ways. The first huge book I read was M.M. Kaye’s "The Far Pavilions" in 10th grade. It swept me away. So years later, my tastes refined yet eager to sample the sweet madeleine of nostalgia, I returned to it and was heartbroken to find it contrived, shallow and unfinishable. Once upon a time, it served a purpose. But by helping me conquer my fear of fat novels, Ms. Kaye’s epic helped to make itself obsolete.
Friendships may come in and out of life in the same way. We have a way of returning to those that matter. In fact, it was only within the past few months that the creator of this blog and I reestablished a friendship that had fallen into respect but neglect. Only with distance and time did I come to fully appreciate her warmth, humor and beauty. (Don’t worry, Greg. I’m not moving in!)
It’s no coincidence that my rediscovered friend is renewing my efforts at some of those novels that I have sighed over and let fall. What do you say, Dr. Zhivago and Senor Quixote? Is it time to give it another try?