This past weekend while at a party for E’s birthday, one of the party goers, M, asked me the toughest question that any person can ask an author, “So what is your next book about?”
Chhh chhh chhhh chhhh ahhh ahhh ahhh ahhh–the sound of Jason Vorhees walking into the room, wielding his giant, rusted machete as I stumble and stammer around looking for something to grasp onto.
So on this trip we went. I rambled on about how it was inspired by a passage in Walden which always seems to wake me up whenever I read it, like just now as I type: “Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.”
So then I went on to say that it is a story about a Mole and a Beaver. The Mole lives simply. He only requires his small home, one pillow, his one bed, his one shelf of books and his one cup for tea. The Beaver however, is a collector. He rummages and collects things(treasures) in order to build his home like Beavers do by nature. Dead pieces of lake wood, an old guitar neck, wagon wheel, an old bike, umbrella…etc. You know, things that are treasures that he does not need. A sturdy construction in its own way depending on your definition of sturdy.
As the story goes on the Beaver tells the Mole that he really doesn’t have much in his life because he doesn’t really own anything. He points the Mole to his hodge-podge house and in that instant the Mole feels worthless. His life changes and he decides that he needs to acquire more things in order to live a fulfilling, enriching life.
So that’s where I’ll stop talking about the storyline. Obviously there is more…as I’ve been told by many a critic, “YOUR STORY NEEDS A RESOLUTION!” This story has one so sleep easy…
But it was something that our friend said to me as her deduction of the story as I described the main characters. She looked up at me and said, “Well, you’re either a Mole or you’re a Beaver I guess…”
That’s perfect. So perfect.
I cannot thank her enough for her fantastic description of a book she has never read and only knows about through polite party conversation. With a simple whittling down of of my stammers and insecure descriptions–I can now say, “You’re either a Mole or a Beaver.”
That’s what it is all about–who we are. I know who I am and sometimes I just don’t like that person. Some days I am the Beaver and I regret those days. Other days I am the Mole and I am still looking for ways to become the Beaver. It’s just in my nature to observe and be impressed by things that twinkle…things that I do not need but sometimes have to have. But when the sun is long down and everything around me is quiet to a point of a single board creaking in the house echos like a world war…I am the Mole. I am sitting in my studio with a pen and a pad and often with a cup for tea.
The full quote from our friend Henry by the lake reads as follows, “Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have even lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor.”
I hope that one day I become as brave as those who I truly look up to. I don’t know where I’ll find that bravery in my work but I am always looking for it.
Thanks for the help Meg.