Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spiritual Memoirs

I have loved books from the time I was a small child. Given that I'm a librarian, I'm certain this is no surprise. Books hold treasure for me in ways that other social activities do not; at least, not in the same way. Books have excitement and mystery, inside glimpses into the lives and private emotions of others. Frankly, the lives of others whose day-to-day happenings are much more interesting than mine :)

But I have always been in love with books. I'm always reading one. Always. I love playing with a new one when I get it fresh from Amazon or from the library; flipping it over, reading the back cover and flaps, paging through it, looking at included photographs. I even like the way books smell.

My book habit has always been expensive to maintain (hey, it's a vice, but I maintain that it's much more wholesome than other vices one could have :) so, given that we're down to one income, plus we have a little mouth to feed, I've taken to requesting most of the books I read from our local public library. I'm loving this new system. I usually read 1-2 books per week, so this public library angle has really come in handy.

My genre of choice in recent years has been religious non-fiction, particularly personal spiritual memoirs. Despite my addiction to reading, I've never been a fan of real heavy, academic books on religious studies. As soon as deep, theological arguments get underway, my eyes start to cross and I begin to skim. I like personal narratives. Stuff about real people and the spiritual journeys and challenges they face. I do read a lot of books authored by Catholics, but I really read a lot of spiritual memoirs by members of other faiths, non-Catholic Christian and Jewish. The books I'm reading right now is excellent, written by a female Jewish rabbi, I promise to devote a whole post to it when I'm finished :)

Lately, my consumption of religious memoirs has reached a fevered pitch. I've been getting an excellent selection of titles from the library (check out my LibraryThing library for specifics). Most recently, I went to pick up my holds, and the librarian actually arched an eyebrow at me: "you have 4 books here; do you want them all now?" I'm still well within the 3 week borrowing period, and I'm on book #4. Yes, I'm a book nerd, what can I say?

This has all gotten me to thinking: I wonder if I should write one myself one day? I'm a private person, so writing makes me feel "exposed" sometimes. But obviously I like to write, just based on this blog alone. This blog has given my latent writing desires room to grow and be creative in a way that I haven't been since high school. I'm very grateful for that. It seemed that I went to law school and although that experience honed my writing skills in a good way, all of my creativity was sucked out. I never had the desire to write for pleasure again until very recently.

Besides the private thing, I also don't have anything particularly dramatic in my spiritual story. No eclectic conversion to Wicca or ancient Celtic spirituality and then back to my Catholic roots, or something cool like that :) So we'll see. But my writing desires, previously neutralized to mandatory library literature, are back in full force. We'll see what happens :)

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