One of my favorite features about LinkedIn is the variety of perspectives that their Thought Leaders bring to the table. As someone who appreciates being able to pull inspiration from a variety of places, I’ve gotten a lot from their compendium of viewpoints.
However, I truly love how they manage to bring this calculated but varied group together: through common questions. Every now and again, a single question will be posed, yielding at times fifty to sixty responses. The current question out for response: What do you always carry with you?
My response? A book.
I have any number of stories that could illustrate this. The day I left Disney distraught because I left a book behind (why I had a book, I don’t even know; I imagine it was something to do while in line). The scavenger hunts I would conduct in the house prior to vacation, when my parents bought my books for the trip and then hid them so I wouldn’t finish them before I left. The day three weeks ago where I had to return to a restaurant to retrieve a book I’d left behind. But it all boils down to one irrefutable fact: if I’m somewhere, so is a book. And if I don’t have one, it’s either a mistake or wildly uncomfortable.
In Susan Cain’s TED talk, she talks about how reading was (a) something that was like breathing to her, and (b) something that her family encouraged her to do. She could have been talking about me! I read anything and everything as a kid. I still do. I can’t nail down what genre I like because I’ll give everything a try. And I can spend hours in bookstores and libraries before making a decision on what I want to read. Simply put, it is entirely natural for me to read.
But where some might find reading a convenient way to hide, I find reading to be a wonderful social activity. I have a hard time with the principle of the e-reader because I’m afraid to lose the ritual of handing a book to a friend, marked up with notes and suggestions, in anticipation of discussing our thoughts about the book when we’ve both read it. I admittedly miss the days of midnight Harry Potter book releases, eager to chat with those who have also fallen in love with the series. And my favorite president is Jefferson because, in addition to his foundation of a university and his reported invention of macaroni and cheese, he was able to sell over 6,000 books to the Library of Congress and still maintain a substantial collection. *swoon*
In some ways, that makes my decision to write a book all the more daunting. I place it on par with being a music enthusiast and adequate musician, who suddenly decides to release an album, or the fashion plate who opts to release a line and sell it online. It’s entering a territory that would allow me to produce something that I continue to be in awe of. It’s scary and it’s a little uncomfortable. But I think that desire to produce something that I view as on par with anything I’ve read, from Judy Blume all the way to Howard Gardner (my first chapter book was Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and the story of that selection has made it to the manuscript; my current read that I’m about to finish is Leading Minds by HoGar), will make me work that much harder. I’m excited about it, and can’t wait to see how it all comes out.
What do you carry with you? And how has that changed over the course of your life?