Friday, February 15, 2008


There’s a ridiculous rumor still rolling around surrounding the benefits of moving to the desert for your health. Since arriving in Arizona I have had just as much trouble with bouts of colds and respiratory problems as existed in the middle of the East Texas woods. I’m currently laid out once again by a vicious run in with allergies. What started as a head ache Wednesday night has now developed into the full cloudy head and sneeze fest. I just made another cup of tea and thanked the Lord that I am off for the day. I just visited my doctor a week ago and have finished my antibiotic round for bronchitis. I asked her about the supposed excellent health I'm supposed to be having in Phoenix. She was quick to say that there were health benefits to be found here up until the early 70’s when everyone started moving here bringing with them their pets, plants, and pollution. (The alliteration wasn’t even planned.) So, I stopped in to get Zyrtec over the counter yesterday. It’s about $50 cheaper now that I don’t need a prescription, and I’m hoping it will do the trick.

In the meantime, I suppose I will just have to push through the allergies and exhaustion I’m currently feeling. I figured the tea and a good book should do the trick, as long as I have a box of Kleenex nearby. Now, speaking of the good book, I’ve just picked up a book that I’ve never heard of and the author’s name doesn’t ring any bells for me, but the cover was highly intriguing. (I thoroughly judge a book by a decent cover.)

My library keeps clear plastic shelves at the end of all the book rows. Like Starbucks and Barnes and Noble, these areas are reserved for the employee’s favorites. Each of the librarians has their name listed: Evelyn recommends – and then you can find roughly 5-10 books in the case recommended by Evenlyn. The books change every few weeks and I often select from them, though not always from Evelyn. I don’t remember the name that adorned the case I selected the new book from. I opened up to read the jacket description and spied a purple post-it placed on the title page. It read “This is a great book!” in plain black script. That sealed the deal for me. It was as if it was calling out to be read. Not even 5 pages in and I spied the following paragraphs:

Before she became ill, David’s mother would often tell him that stories were alive. They weren’t alive in the way that people were alive, or even dogs or cats. People were alive whether you chose to notice them or not, while dogs tended to make you notice them if they decided that you weren’t paying them enough attention. Cats, meanwhile, were very good at pretending people didn’t exist at all when it suited them, but that was another matter entirely.

Stories were different, though: they came alive in the telling. Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide eyes following them by flashlight beneath a blanket, they had no real existence in our world. They were like seeds in the beak of a bird, waiting to fall to earth, or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being. They lay dormant, hoping for the chance to emerge. Once someone started to read them, they could begin to change. They could take root in the imagination, and transform the reader. Stories wanted to be read, David’s mother would whisper. They needed it. It was the reason they forced themselves from their world into ours. They wanted us to give them life.

So you see, I really had no choice but to pick up “The Book of Lost Things” by John Connolly. I’m hoping that by reheating my tea and opening back up to page 28 that I will be able to forget about the allergies threatening to take away a perfectly useful day. Stupid pollution. Or as my mother would say, "POLLUTION!"

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