Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Book That Changed Their Lives

The Book That Changed My Life
71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books That Matter Most to Them
Edited by Roxanne J. Coady & Joy Johannessen

It’s fun to flip through the book and read what books various notables have chosen. Among those listed are the Works of Shakespeare, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings; Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye; Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird; Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby; and the Bible. The one passage that resonated most with me was that written by deep-sea explorer Robert Ballard. Here’s what Ballard wrote:

…The Power of Myth, Bill Moyers’ collection of interviews with Joseph Campbell. So many aspects of their conversation found a home in my heart and soul. For instance, finding your ‘other half’ is such a wonderful way of defining the relationship we should have with our mate in life.

But the interview I love most deals with our common journey in life, which Campbell states so simply: that life is the act of becoming, that you never arrive. That you climb your mountains not for the view you have once you reach the summit but because you love the process of climbing, of becoming.

For me, The Power of Myth reinforced my view that life is a series of journeys, circles within circles on which you travel through time and space and within yourself. Each journey begins with a dream that grows into a passion to do something important in life. That passion motivates you to learn, to prepare yourself to fulfill your dream. Finally, you begin the journey itself, which in my case commonly becomes an expedition to find something lost or unknown.

During that journey I know I will be tested by the storms we must all experience. Some storms will test your mental preparation, but the most challenging will test the strength of your passion and your willingness to endure those storms to reach your goal. And I have learned that all storms will pass: the skies clear, and your quest is achieved.

But your journey is never over until you return from it to share with society what you have learned. Then and only then can you begin your next journey in life as the process repeats itself, as you constantly become.

1 comment:

Thomas F. Ryan said...

I'll follow this up with the book that changed my life. Please feel free to add you own.