Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I needed encouragement to get out of bed this morning. It was nothing specific; I just wasn’t my usual morning person self. Emerson’s quote struck a chord.
Now six hours later, I smile as I consider the mud and scum and the song that this day has brought so far. All part of the balance thing.
I facilitate a monthly book club at a branch of our public library. Two meetings–same book. The majority of the Tuesday night group consists of those who work during the day. Those who attend the Wednesday morning meeting either work different hours or are retired.
This month’s book is Ford County: Stories by John Grisham. It’s a collection of short stories from a fictional Mississippi county, with characters not unlike those we met when we read As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner several months ago. Using dark humor, Grisham tells stories of relevant social issues through these rural Southerners.
Everyone who attends gets to talk about their experience with the book. I enjoyed last night’s discussion, so I go this morning expecting similar results. However, this morning there are four new faces. All of them have seen the notices about the book, but none has read it. Maybe that is where the trouble begins.
The characters in these Grisham stories were probably not the kind who would have come to a public library book club discussion, but at one point I begin to wonder if their next of kin are here. After everyone who has read the book offers their opinions of it, an interesting thing happens. A discussion of experiences with unsavory characters takes over, and the discussion itself becomes rather unsavory. I hold up the book and urge the participants to focus on the book, but those not familiar with our format are finding a place to share their thoughts. OK. I’m trying to respect that.
I come away from today’s meeting with less enthusiasm. Where did I lose control?
That was two hours ago. I’ve now had time to write about this experience. What if we are all characters in a Grisham short story with diversity as the social issue we are struggling with?