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Words Worth Repeating

For awhile now, I’ve wanted to come up with a regular post that allows me to share some meaningful thoughts, ideas and quotations from whatever I happen to be reading at the time—whether it’s a novel, a memoir, a cookbook, a magazine article or anything else that catches my eye. These words will, of necessity, need to speak into my life—or, at least, a particular moment of my life—to be deemed worthy of repeating. And it’s my hope that in addition to the actual words, I’ll be able to effectively convey their personal significance in such a way that they’ll be every bit as poignant to those who see them here.

This first Words Worth Repeating post was inspired by an unlikely source—at least one that came as a surprise to me. On the recommendation of a fellow reader I met at a children’s birthday party last weekend, I picked up a novel at the library titled The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. The book—about an aspiring race-car driver and his young family, and entirely narrated from the perspective of his dog—is probably not something I’d have chosen on my own. I’ve learned from experience, though, that sometimes such books make the best reads. Besides, I was intrigued by the idea of a story told from a dog’s perspective—especially because our family recently adopted our first canine member, a blue heeler named Sweetie. The framework constructed by the book’s personal story helped ease me into the world of car-racing and its history and heroes. (Outside of my youngest son’s obsession with the Disney movie Cars—which I’ve almost memorized, thanks to his daily viewing of it—I knew next to nothing about this world.) Without giving too much of the story away, I’ll say that Enzo—the dog who tells the story and who is named, of course, for Italian race-car driver and designer Enzo Ferrari—holds out hope that one day that he’ll be reincarnated as a human so that he can speak about all that he sees and knows with the words that are beyond the limitations of his canine abilities to communicate. He is a witness to tragic circumstances that threaten the family he loves, including the affliction of his master’s wife, Eve, with brain cancer. When Eve orchestrates a celebration to mark the fact that she lives beyond the “six to eight months” the doctors give her, Enzo thinks,

“To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live. To feel the joy of life, as Eve felt the joy of life. To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am. I am. That is something to aspire to. When I am a person, that is how I will live my life.”

What made this particular quotation—and the story behind it—stand out to me is that I have lately seen my share of friends handling health crises (including a brain tumor) with such amazing grace and a determination to “feel the joy of life” despite their pain and fear. They inspire me to repeat alongside them especially that last sentence—only without the dog Enzo’s qualifying “When”: “I am a person, [and] that is how I will live my life.”

Please note: It is my goal to provide a top-quality, content-driven, ad-free blog. That said, I do occasionally include affiliate links in some of my posts. For example, if you click on the book cover above, you will link to Amazon.com, where you will have an opportunity to purchase it—and if you do buy it after clicking through from my site, I will receive a small commission to support my work here, as well as my own book-buying habit. :-) Seriously, though, I’d be just as happy if my recommendations inspired you to check out the title from your local library or borrow it from a friend.

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1 Tawnya Hood { 05.05.10 at 8:40 pm }

I LOVE that Sonya! As I read it, I envisioned a wall in my house, with words written all over it ( or painted). Words can be so amazing. Thanks for sharing! <3

2 Sonya Hemmings { 05.05.10 at 9:11 pm }

Tawnya—Ooh! I like that visual of a wall of words—and trust a photographer to come up with that one! 🙂 Words and pictures BOTH are so amazing!

3 Jacki { 05.07.10 at 10:34 am }

Hey Sonya, I’m guessing you’ve read “The Middle Place” by Kelly Corrigan? If not, I highly recommend it – I think it will be meaningful to you in a similar way. One of my all-time favorite books!

4 Sonya Hemmings { 05.07.10 at 11:18 am }

Hi, Jacki!
No, I have not read “The Middle Place” yet, and I appreciate the suggestion very much—especially from you! I’ll add it to my list. So glad you stopped by. 🙂

5 Wendy { 05.10.10 at 11:13 am }

I love when someone recommends a book that you would’ve never selected yourself, but that you end up really enjoying. At the same time, I really DON’T love when someone recommends a book to me that I don’t like. This just happened to me. I was waiting at the orthodontist with my copy of “Eat, Pray, Love” with me. I had tried to read this about a year ago, couldn’t get past the “Eat” part, but recently checked it out again to give it another try. I did get through the “Eat,” the “Pray” and the “Love” this time, but it took me forever. Unlike all the Oprah followers, I just didn’t like it. The ortho receptionist saw it in my hand and asked me what I thought of it. When I gave her my abbreviated negative review, she said she and her book club felt the same way, and then proceeded to recommend two more books to me: “Firefly Lane” by Kristin Hannah, and “The Help,” by Kathryn Stockett. Well, I just finished the first, and I wanted to throw it across the room when I was done. (I would’ve literally followed through with that, but it was a library book.) It was the most cliched, overdone, trite book I’ve read in a long time. On top of that, it was a total rip-off of “Beaches.” The worst thing was that it was quite long and as you know, we have precious little reading time these days, so I can’t stand when I use up that block on something so worthless to me. Now I’m afraid to take her other recommendation. Maybe I’ll take yours instead. BTW, “The Middle Place” is on my reading list, too! Well, I mean it WAS, until my not-so-smart iPhone DELETED my reading list that I’ve been keeping for the past 5 years or so!! I’m still not over it. Thanks for sharing!

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