November 4, 2009

Max’s Musings

maxBy Max Molleston

This month and next are celebrations. Thanksgiving meals and gatherings, religious holidays and New Years Day. I am not telling you anything you don’t know and appreciate. We’re in the time when much of the earth in our area is dormant and snow becomes the feature of our landscape. That is the good and some of the irritable signs of winter in these parts. If you are snowbirds heading to southern latitudes for the warmth after Thanksgiving, you opt out of the aforementioned snow, and forgive me, ice.

As green fades to brown and then snow white, our activity tends to be more limited. Not that it has to be, as we 50+ers do get around. If a snow scene is time for beauty and reflection, it can also cultivate the desire to read: to find adventure on the printed page.

To me that means a trip to your local library, or a local bookstore. Though we devlop a fondness to browse, a trip to the library may need to be purposeful. Modern libraries have wonderful folks to guide us, once we  know where we want to place our interests. It takes maybe ten minutes to figure areas of interest in our reading, and that can be carried on a piece of paper to the library, and they will lead us to where those books we may want reside. The pace can be leisurely and in some cases involve coffee and a cookie to help the decisions.

We are all kinds of readers and information seekers. This writer, a “life-long” reporter, seeks non-fiction, all the while knowing the power and pleasure of the great novels and stories termed fiction. Lots of fiction is based on someone’s life and circumstances, and it can be the author or someone else. I read a wonderful novelized version of the life of Herman Goerring, the Luftwaffe general in World War II. Another “war” version was about President Lincoln and his need to lead in the U.S. Civil War. Another is a two-book volume in paperback of the early Christian Church. The author, a German, compiled it in the middle nineteen-thirties, and the translation to English was updated in the middle nineteen-fifties. I say compiled because it was heavily foot-noted. Many references were in The Holy Bible, so I plan to re-read it with The Bible as a handy reference to broaden my appreciation of the times and struggles in the aftermath of the resurrection of Jesus. That and other reading I plan while observing snow falls will move me around our home, to various seated positions to reinforce my attention to the page. Otherwise, and I write this knowing you know, my eyes will close for an indeterminate period of time.

I recommend that journey to seek out your winter reading be made sometime soon.

Number one, you get a headstart about the ideas you want to explore or the areas that enrich your thinking or feelings. If you would not wind through a seven-hundred pager no matter how inspiring, go after a one-inch thick book, knowing you can handle that in a time span you like. More and more, other things you read present reviews of new books that may interest you. The neatest thing, I think, is to re-read some of the literature you “had” to read as a younger person, like assignments in hig.h school or college classes, or maybe some of the fun reading you did.

Consider this: I was ready to get into the mix of poetry with some of the verse of John Keats, who died at twenty-five. He is touted for composing more great poetry in his younger years than most poets do in lifetimes of more years. He used emotional pushers, like death and his advancing death, to propel that great use of language of another time. His verses made it to the very limited and educated public of his time. If you ask around, most successful poets who have  composed verse thirty years and more should tell you their best poems came in their youth, after some seasoning in the art.

We now make way for the holidays, and they are closer as you have read my ideas today. Come back next month.