Bob and I subscribe to the Friday, Saturday and Sunday New York Times. I know a lot of people don't like the Times, but I think it's the best newspaper in the country.
My favorite Sunday section is the Book Review. In fact, I never throw them away. I've got stacks of Book Reviews squirreled away in various pieces of furniture (probably fire hazards!)
As a rule, the book reviews in the Times are insightful, knowledgeable, sensitive and well crafted. I read the reviews not only to discover new books but also to admire the beautiful prose of the reviewers themselves.
But last Sunday, I read the most awful review of Abigail Thomas's new memoir titled What Comes Next and How to Like It.
I'm a big Abigail Thomas fan. I admire her candid, open heart and easy turns of phrase. But what I most love about Abigail's writing is that she, more than anyone else I know, can take the most ordinary things in life and elevate them into something sublime. Her wonderful writing gives me hope that I too can transform my own ordinary, very small life into something beautiful that transcends the ordinary.
Karen Powers, who reviewed Abigail's book in last Sunday's paper, evidently was not moved by Abigail's musing about beds, dishwashers, dogs or snails. I feel sorry for Ms. Powers. Her snarky writing was, I thought, revealing of a sour outlook.
After I read her review of Abigail's new book, I threw the newspaper down in disgust and sat stewing for a moment. Then, still in bed, I picked up pencil and paper and wrote the following:
An Ordinary Day
A good life does not depend on material accomplishments or acquisitions, but rather, the recognition of the simple goodness of being alive. It's hearing the hawks cry in the morning, the birds whistling in the woods, the rooster rousing in the valley, and the muffled tread of bare feet shuffling down the hall. It's the smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen and the comforting softness of feather pillows against my back. It's the taste of apples and almonds for breakfast and the invigorating renewal of cold, living water splashing on my face and hands. A good life is nothing more or less than a series of moments-- homely, ordinary moments-- in the gift of another ordinary day
Be Well and Good Luck,