Archive | January, 2014

Everything changes and nothing remains still

10 Jan

I just picked up a copy of Kate Atkinson’s new book Life After Life. I admit, it wasn’t from the free bin, but it is a library book and my neighbor gave it to me after he was done, so I think there is some wiggle room.

I love to look at the quotes an author uses to introduce his or her novel. Sometimes the connection is crystal clear. Other times they seem to be showing off a little. Having not read this particular book, I can’t hold firm on either of these options. But a quote caught my eye:

Everything changes and nothing remains still.   — Plato, Cratylus

That thought is a succinct treatise on my week.

As I begin so many new chapters—graduate student, Creative Director (as my boss goes on maternity leave), “soccer mom” in the most literal definition, and meditator-in-training—I’ve been figuring out my focus. My New Year’s resolution was to live in the moment. But I have to manage my time better than that.

As an online grad student, I have the basic organized, independent, challenge-loving mindset down. Fifteen years as a freelance advertising writer guaranteed that. I can’t juggle balls, but I can take on 12 projects from three agencies due in four days. You don’t get paid if you can’t. So even though I’ll be in the here-and-now in 2014, I’ve got tomorrow’s here-and-nows pretty planned out.

And a career spent working with remote teams has ensured that I’m ready to work with all my colleagues, new and old. Trust, conflict resolution, commitment, accountability, attention to detail—they are more than buzzwords. They are lifelines when it comes to teamwork.

So I’ve got my calendar planned out (soccer on M/Th, meditation on Tuesday, pilates on Friday, work every day and school at night and weekends), my folders organized, my technology revved up, and a bunch of ideas floating around my head.

I’m ready to go.

Until it all changes again tomorrow.

There’s something about a free book

8 Jan

One day I found one of my favorite books of all time, Madame Bovary, discarded in a box outside my local bookstore. It sat there, sad and lonely, piled among tattered paperback copies of What to Expect When You’re Expecting and trashy romance novels. I picked it up and decided I would take it home and reread this by-chance version, giving it a new life its previous owner was hoping it would get. Week after week I would stop by and pick up another abandoned book, She’s Come Undone and The Joy Luck Club. Hamlet and McBeth. I did pick up a few of those trashy novels too. Hey, free book bin beggars can’t be choosers.

I might not have added Madame Bovary to my reading list again. But the book bin knew better. And I was happy it did.

I’m going to review some of these books I find. Or maybe I’ll just pick my favorite passage. Maybe I’ll share some notes written in the margins. Maybe I’ll tell you the very last line—and let you guess the rest. You never know how a book can inspire you.

Over the next year, I’ll share what I find in the free bin. So this is the story of a year of books, reborn.