A recent trip the library found me wandering the stacks of books. (Actually, it is a small library, so I wouldn’t define it as wandering to get lost–the way I used to in the giant libraries back in New York as a kid.)
I found myself stopping. Why, I have no idea. My gut said stop, so I stopped. I fingered the spines of several books, not entirely sure what I was looking for, until I crouched down and saw a sparse selection of Hemingway.
It called to me, so I closed my eyes and pulled one book free. When I opened my eyes and looked down, The Old Man and the Sea peeked up at me. In all honesty, I hadn’t read the book since high school and felt a little guilty about not revisiting it sooner.
It sat, perched atop my too large stack of reading material for the next three weeks, and off I was—returning to an old friend.
I have to admit, I didn’t crack open the book right away. It was a few days before I was mentally prepared to dive into the pages. And dive I did. I remembered why I fell in love with this book the first time I read it all those years ago, and it struck a chord with me as I finished the last page.
The story of an epic struggle between an old, seasoned angler and the greatest catch of his life made me think…hard.
I thought mostly about how the book paralleled my own writing. Santiago has a dry spell and decides to switch things up–only to end up alone and with the catch of his life. He wrestles to haul in his prize and manages to bring back the bones, and even though he curses himself for going out too far, he’s content.
What’s that have to do with me? Everything, actually. I won’t bore anyone with the details, but I’m at that same point as Santiago.