Monday, August 25, 2008

Was Greta Garbo Right?

I'm being facetious. Greta Garbo never said she wanted to be alone, you know. She actually said she wanted to be left alone, which in these days of whirl and bustle makes a world of sense.

I'm in the midst of reading Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea right now. It's a slim little book and should have been a quick read, but I've found myself lingering over this book of near-meditations. In part, I think that's due to the subject matter of the book. Although first published fifty-some years ago, the author's musings on the results of an ever-increasing whirl of life still seem nearly painfully relevant to me today. However, I think there's another reason I'm savoring this book like a fine chocolate mousse.

This is my grandmother's copy of the book, complete with her pencil underlinings. I'm learning a lot about the reader of the book, due to those markings. What bits struck my grandmother as worthy of marking? Is this where I get my habit of dog-earing and marking my favorite passages in my favorite books? I don't know, but I'm having great fun considering the possibilities.

At any rate, time alone is a precious commodity. Lindbergh notes that, as a society, we are nearly suspicious of anyone who wants to be alone, although we'll accept almost any other excuse. But if we are meant to give to our society, it stands to logical reason that we must refuel ourselves in order to continue. She mentions a term she ran across while reading William James, who is generally considered to be the father of the self-help movement. The term is "Zerrissenheit" which translates into "torn-to-pieces-hood." Surely that is a state of being that is best avoided.

So in the midst of classes, appointments, and obligations galore, I'm off to find a quiet place, hopefully near a sunbeam slanting through the blinds. Don't worry if I don't answer the phone; I'll be back. In fact, why don't you leave a message and find your own sunbeam? I'm sure there's one close by.

4 comments:

amnbdad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amnbdad said...

I always encourage ready which is why I'm shamelessly encouraging you to check out my new blog bobo ramblings please.

Ian K. said...

I finally got your book! It is great!

Currently in full on research-mode for a paper on an aspect of faith in Firefly that I am co-authoring for the Southwest Texas Pop Culture and American Culture Association :)

Mockingbird said...

Ian: It's so good to hear from you! And hey! I just "may" make the SW conference next year - some things have to be worked out, but at least it's a possibility right now! And yes, I'll be updating the UNFETTERED site very soon!