It’s been a fair month since I blogged last. NaNoWriMo overwhelmed me (I still have some final words to share on that front: like many things in the present, they’re presently forthcoming) and I started a new medication in November that knocked me out entirely. I held onto the end of my first semester in grad school by a thread, and I’ve been using the time since for some much-needed recovery.
No, “recovery” is a bad word. There was nothing to recover from, but I needed to relax.
I had a pendulum of posts swinging through my mind this whole time, but they came and went and I rose and slept and nothing came to fruition. But hardly more than a week ago I pulled up outside a theater with my friend for Star Wars VII and that has been a moment that has stayed with me more than anything.
Don’t worry, there’ll be no spoilers here, but maybe something deeper.
Some things we can’t choose–our skin color, our parents, our aptitude for eyesight and how soon we need glasses, or perhaps how soon we lose our hair, or perhaps how long it takes us to remember what we were doing before we completely forget it. But some things we can choose–what we consume, how we spend our time, what we study.
This isn’t a list about choices. This is a list about all those things chosen for me–things that maybe I would’ve done differently had I the foresight to know better, the insight into my own destiny as the world shaped it for me.
A long, long, long long long time ago (approximately 2176 years to be precise), there was a man named Judah HaMaccabee. Judah the Hammer. How quaint, you know? He led the Maccabean revolt against the Syrian-Greeks and with his small army, a miracle occurred and this band of Jews became victorious over their oppressors. The Temple was salvaged, cleansed, purified, rededicated–in fact, that’s how Chanukah gets its name! “Chanukah” literally means “dedication.” Thus the holiday began. Long before presents. Long before vague attempts to Chrismastize the holiday. Long before commercialization could be considered.
Something special happened then. Something inconceivable in today’s world.
For me it began by accident. I wasn’t ever much of a strong reader in my youth. In fact I had struggled to read for most of my time remembering how to do it. It never came naturally. I supposed books and I would never be such great friends.
What changed was a challenge. My library had a summer reading contest (for although I don’t find myself to be incredibly competitive, when it comes down to it, I find many of my motivations have been incredibly competitive in nature), and if you read a certain number of pages, you received a certain number of points, and if you received a certain number of points, you received a prize.
So I read. Small books, children’s books, ones much less than I could have and should have been reading at the time. But I read them. And then, right before the end, I had a tally of all my pages–and they wanted a book’s title. But I hadn’t written any down.