Thursday, September 6, 2012

"A Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh


It's hard to describe why this book has impacted me so strongly. I really feel like I need to read it again -- or for a first time, technically, since I listened to it as an audio book on the way to a friend's house. But for now, let me just say that I think the things I got from this book are what my writing prof was trying to teach me by having me read "A Room of One's Own" by Virginia Woolf. That didn't really speak to me very much, or maybe I wasn't in the right place in my life to listen to it. But this book did touch me in some pretty profound ways.

I've been a fan of Anne Morrow Lindbergh ever since I read Bring Me a Unicorn for my Creative Writing class when I was a college sophomore. Her letters and diary entries reminded me of myself, in a way, a young girl growing up not exactly lonely, but apart somehow. That book crossed my path right when I was ready for it, ready to look back at my childhood and adolescence and think about how it had shaped who I was becoming.

A Gift from the Sea also crossed my path at a rather perfect moment. As my baby grows and stretches my tummy farther and farther, thoughts and curiosities and fears about motherhood occupy a slice of my mental life. Will I still be able to find time to write? Will I want to? Should I want to? Will my need for alone-time, now fulfilled in the one night a week my husband works that I don't, decrease? Will I still need time to myself, but feel too selfish to take any? Lindbergh discusses this exact issue from her vantage point as a mother of five and successful author, and the things she said resonated with me and the ways I expect to feel in the coming years. If nothing else, her words assured me that I'm not the only woman who needs alone time, who needs to create things to feel more complete, be they stories or books or afghans or pumpkin pies.

That's about all I can say about this book right now -- I definitely need to read it again. I'll probably put it on my Christmas list. But if you're interested in women writers and their perspectives, find this book.

(Originally posted on Inscriptions on Jun. 20, 2007.)

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