She wanted to live a life well spent, a life that touched her world. And in her fanciful reader's heart, she imagined that her life would make her a hero of the monomyth: She would journey forth, attract some steady sidekicks, venture with them into worlds challenging and unknown, and then return, changed, bringing back boons to elevate her city and her world.
But every moment she spent inside a book was a moment spent outside her world.
So what's the rub? The reader simply couldn't give up reading, but time was running short. She was half way through her hero's life, and she'd barely stepped upon the path.
It was time to make every moment count.
The ravenous reader pondered and pondered. She liked to think of herself as eternally well-intentioned, but she was essentially lazy at heart. She wanted to do as little as possible. 'Baby steps' was her borrowed mantra, one she held fast to in good times and in bad. But could it serve her in this new pickle?
So she pondered and she pondered and she pondered again, and she hadn't pondered all that long when she hit upon what could be called a plan. It was simple enough really: Every time she climbed back out of a book, she would take a step or two on a new path of the book's own making. Wherever it pointed her, she would wend.
And so, step after step, she journeyed forth. And in just one lazy month she found that she had
- Struck up a friendship with a champion pigeon racer.
- Fed a bunch of juncos in a blizzard (and chickadees and finches and sparrows and wrens and varied thrushes and and towhees and Stellar's jays and squirrels) who now visit her every day. (Tip for would-be heroes: Good food's always a bonding thing, especially in a snowstorm.)
- Started a Joy.blog to celebrate play and beauty in cyberspace and to offer the world reasons to be grateful.
- Started to Twitter (finally!) - the better to spread the joy.
- Made her first google map to trace the steps she took within books.
- Changed up her food to favor more compassionate consumption.
- Made at least 40 people she doesn't know smile.
- Made two pinecone turkeys and a Thanksgiving centerpiece, all out of salvaged materials.
- Reconnected with a friend and colleague who found her again on this blog.
- Thanked a brother, a mother, a cousin, a father, and a whole lot of folks all over the country.
- Started telling stories again.
- Asked three "critical friends" for help. (Perhaps the scariest step of the month, because it tested the premise that her friends would be willing and able to offer their time and expertise to help her. So far, so good. Mentors and pals for the journey: check!)
- Remembered that action begets action, step follows step. She knew this already, but she had forgotten how swiftly the Universe itself steps in.
- Figured out that changing her own life for the better is also changing the real world.
Now, December's dawning. The ravenous reader's surveying her progress on the path, taking a deep breath, and striding on.