In addition to using the outreach library, my parents subscribed to Reader's Digest Condensed books. Which meant that, several times a year, we got a book in the mail. And that book was pot luck. You never knew what you were going to get, and I loved it! As soon as I could get my hands on the new volume (my parents were both avid readers), I would pick and choose, reading the stories I thought most likely to please. Going either by title or description or first few lines. In the end, I read all of them of course, but never in order.
Pioneer, Go Home! by Richard Powell, though, was in the winter volume of 1960, so I hadn't even been born when it came to the house. I must have come across it when I was combing the shelves, looking for that reading fix. I can't remember how old I was when I read it. I just remember laughing and laughing and loving it. But I didn't hold on to it. My parents moved several times after I graduated and over the years, the Reader's Digest books disappeared. Later, when my own kids were old enough that I thought they might have appreciated that book, I couldn't remember what it was called or who wrote it and without that information, I couldn't figure out how to find it.
I've been in a slump, as a writer and as a reader. I won't bore you with the details, I'll just say that I was trying to find the magic again. I NEEDED to find the magic again. And that got me thinking about the books that turned me into a writer. You know, like you do. And that got me thinking about that one book, that one I read when I was a kid, about the crazy family who built a home on a highway median in a swamp, and the social worker who went in to save them. It was romantic and funny and it was in Reader's Digest and I couldn't remember that darn title, but I was desperate and now we have the internets! Hurray! Of course, even with the magic of the internets, it took some digging, but in the end, I figured out that the book I was looking for was "Pioneer, Go Home!" by Richard Powell and I ordered a copy of it.
|AKA, The Magic|
This afternoon I sat down and opened it up to the first page and read this:
None of this would have happened if Pop had minded what the sign told him. The sign was on a barrier across a new road that angled off the one we was driving on, and it said, "Positively Closed to The Public." But after all his years of being on relief, or getting Unemployment Compensation and Aid to Dependent Children and things like that, Pop didn't think of himself as The Public. He figured he was just about part of the government on account of he worked with it so close. The government helped Pop, and Pop done his best to keep the government busy and happy . . .
And there it was. The Magic.
I haven't read very much of it. There were other things to do. My spouse-like-boyfriend and I ordered sushi for dinner, and then we had to watch True Blood. And then my iPhone popped up with a reminder that it was my turn to blog for the Rockville8.
Never in my wildest dreams could that child I was--that child checking the mailbox every day on Rt 41 in Upper Michigan--have imagined something like an iPhone. Let alone imagine being nagged by one . . .
Anyway. I'll be savoring my little trip down memory lane when I finally crawl into bed tonight, and then some more tomorrow afternoon, after my writing date with an R8 pal. And slowly, but surely, I'm getting back into the writing.
Or more accurately, the writing is getting back into me.
Photo: a personal photo, taken by the blogger