Yesterday I finished most of my office work before the girls woke up. And so I thought we might go out on an adventure. Or a picnic. But we stayed home instead. We picked cherries in the orchard. We sketched and painted Nasturtiums. We did a little reading and a little knitting. We gathered flowers and settled fully into the summer day.
Later in the evening I finished reading The Chosen. I remember it from years ago (did I read it in college?) and for some reason had been thinking about it earlier this summer. I even searched for it on my bookshelf but found I only had the sequal (The Promise). So when I happened upon an old hardback copy at the July library book sale, I gratefully brought it home.
Chaim Potok is every bit as wonderful a writer as I’d remembered! Each time I pull myself out of the world that is his book, I return to my kitchen — or my garden, or my children — with a deeper level of awareness. I linger in the details. I find myself narrating in my head: the scrape of the spoon against the side of the bowl or the shape of my child’s hand as she reaches up towards me.
I love his writing because even as he weaves a story rich with imagery, Chaim Potok doesn’t shy away from taking up the question of truth in the context of the world’s contradictions. He inspires me to write with intention and courage.
In the middle of reading The Chosen, I was hit with sudden inspiration to rewrite my own young adult novel in first person. The new version of my story has taken on a life of its own, and (dare I say?) I finally feel like I’m doing justice to the characters. Thus I’m reminded again how good reading and writing are so inextricably intertwined. And now I’m looking forward to waking early again to write.