If I bounced and paced my baby across the living room one more time – I was going to lose my mind.
I’d been shut in the house for too long. Away from the outside world yet, inviting so much of the noise inside my head. The only relief was fresh air and fresh faces. With baby in tow, I headed to Barnes and Noble.
On the way there, I trailed behind a car with a succession of 1’s on the license plate. I saw the 1’s as a sign I was headed in the right direction.
After returning some merchandise and receiving store credit, I went straight to the reference section in search of books on writing. As I stood there bouncing baby Abe in the carrier strapped across my waist and shoulders, my heart raced. I was anxious with indecision: Which book should I get? Should I buy one at all? I do have store credit. But I’m trying to be minimalist! I don’t need another book. If I do buy a book, I better make sure it’s worth owning…
The first book that caught my eye was Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont. It was on my list of books to read. I flipped through it and realized it wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted something more instructive. So, I picked up The Art of X-Ray Reading by Roy Peter Clark. I could work on my reading skills, I thought. I read a few pages and considered it a possibility. But, I really wanted something on structuring and plotting a story.
I grabbed Plot Perfect by Paula Munier and skimmed through it. This had more of what I wanted, a step-by-step process with examples and exercises.
With Plot Perfect in my hands, and Abe asleep in the carrier, I stood there dumbfounded with reservation.
By that time, more people had invaded my space. A man searched the shelves beside me. I shuffled to the left and noticed another person ruffling through the discounted bins nearby. Had they noticed me? Were they witnessing my struggle over choosing the perfect book?
My face was on fire. I wore a sweatshirt underneath a 20 pound baby in a sweat suit fastened to my chest. I wanted to run out of there but I still hadn’t decided on a book!
I looked to the bookshelves one more time and spotted a tiny green dragonfly on the bind of The Art and Craft of Storytelling by Nancy Lamb. I picked up the book. I thought, maybe this is the book for me. But, am I just picking it because it has a dragonfly on it? Or was it the best choice?
I decided to take the dragonfly as another sign and fly out of there.
*I am currently reading The Art and Craft of Storytelling, underlining sentences, writing in the margins and taking notes. It turned out to be the best choice after all.