"I am large. I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dog Day Afternoon

"That which you manifest is before you." ~ Gabriel Flouret

It's the middle of a windy, slightly overcast afternoon and I just finished reading the book "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein as I nurse myself to health with antibiotics. My eyes are swollen from all the crying while reading. I swear, I am such a baby sometimes.

It was the kind of book I love to read. The kind I lost myself in. The type of book that made me want to leave my life for hours, or occupied my mind while I went through the motions of my day. Short sentences where subjects and predicates swimmingly get along. None of those winding narratives that lose my attention and I find I have to re-read them a couple of times before I reach a shadow of comprehension. It had the right font (Times New Roman) and the right size font (12). Its paragraphs double-spaced and justified. It was for me, a the-planets-are-aligned kind of book. And given that I don't read much fiction anymore - the last work of fiction I read was the one I bought when I went to Washington over two years ago for godson Teo's christening - I can't help but feel I was led to the book. Or the book was led to me. Or both.

That happens to me often, and I reckon it happens to all of us often, this thing that seems like a coincidence or a happy happenstance. Serendipity, if you will. It is like me reading about mazes and labyrinths and a week later, I find myself in a retreat house I wasn't planning to visit, gazing at a labyrinth and now knowing the difference between the two, stand there utterly, profoundly amazed (pun not intended) because it makes perfect sense for this to be in place of spiritual re-acquaintance. For what is the journey but traversing the path to our center?

Anyhoo, back to the book.

This was the second book I have read that was written from the perspective of a dog. The first one was Peter Mayle's "A Dog's Life" and though I enjoyed its whimsy, "The Art of Racing in the Rain" clutched at my heart and would not let me go.

I remembered all the dogs that came into my life. I missed them all. Some more than others. One more than all.

It was the kind of book that had me stopping every once in a while, just to savor the words or the assembly of words that moved me so. Lest you think it was all style for me, I assure you, it was not. I was just as enamored with the substance if not more so.

If you're not a dog person, or have never had a pet, you may not like the book as much, despite my waxing lyrical. But for now, drugged as I am and wallowing in lethargy, all I can say is that this book made me feel...

Well, it made me feel. Period.

And that is how the book has blessed me. It made me feel. And that's the best thing you can ask for in a book.

(Photo credit: Smiles for Photos)

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