Thoroughly Alive

We must hunger after the beautiful and the good...


A Book Girl's Manifesto (and the Book Girl pre-order bonus is here!)


I'm on my second cup of coffee because I got up early to write this post and slipped out of the house right after Lilian fell back asleep. I've been sitting here, with music that reminds me of thunderstorms and roadtrips and great adventures humming in my ears (think Celtic soundscape) and I intended to write an informative, essayish first post in a series of posts about why I wrote Book Girl. But the music and the coffee and the cool early morning was too much and I ended up just breathing out a Book Girl Manifesto, a spoken-word style list of the ultimate reasons I think we ought to read. I'll start the post series next week, exploring some of the themes of the poem below in depth - we'll look at reading for beauty, for courage, and for connection (and I'll explore a few of the books that illuminated those qualities for me). For the moment though, I hope a little of the verve and grace of what I feel in thinking of the reading life comes to you in reading my little morning creation (is it a poem? A song? A mini-essay?) below.

But before I leave you to that, I'm really delighted to announce that the publisher and I have crafted a delightful little package of extra book lists and printable, illustrated quotes for those who have pre-ordered Book Girl. It's such delight to watch this book of my soul make its foray into the world. I can't thank you enough for the way you are creating a way for it, joining the excitement by pre-ordering the book. This bonus is a small way of saying thanks. GO HERE to fill out the form and get the download.

And now, friends, have a joyous day, a day livened by words that bring you alive to the richness of life, the hope that is always drawing us forward, the love glimmering at heart of our existence.


A Book Girl's Manifesto

We read to live.
We read to have hearts stocked and staid by the beauty of God.
We read because it is our way to reach out and grasp the world in its splendor.
Words give us a thousand questing hands by which we can taste and touch
The goodness of the first Creator who spoke this story of a world alive
We revel in the words that teach us that berries are ruby and succulent,
That show us the earth as a treasure ‘crammed with heaven’,
We read to rejoice in the works of imagination, story and poem, 
That liven us to glimpse God’s own imagination at work in the laughter of wind,
The solemnity of trees, the endless wild landscape of a best friend’s heart.
We read, my friends, for woven in the words of great old stories is holy sight
Words are open windows looking out on the world we glimpsed in Eden
And lost,
And yet have been homesick for in every quiet minute of our lives
We read to remember the goodness in which we were made,
The beauty that still invades our days with grace, and makes our lives
A journey home.

We read for hope.
We read so that we may defy the darkness,
We read to start the stories running once again,
And look on sorrow and the countless broken hearts we bear and grieve
And know for an instant that pain never has to be our end
That Love was a life and a story lived among us,
A living Word that showed us how to turn the page and renew the horizons. 
Whose own lived story began ours afresh.
We learn this in every great story we read
We witness the way that a bold, brave character
Can fling the way open to hope, 
And so we know, that we too are living stories
And the pen lies in our grasp, the word of new creation is ours for the writing,
The acting, the reading,
And our end is not grief, but glory.

We read for connection.
We read so that we may reach out and comprehend
The soul of another, 
Discover that the meaning we yearn to find,
The hunger for beauty that defines our lives,
Is shared, can become, when offered, the space of a deep communion.
We read so that we can see the ‘other’, the person who is not us
And yet to whose soul we are bound in Love
We read to glimpse the world that is another human mind
We read to glimpse the face of God reflected in the eyes
Of the spouse we barely understand, the child we study in the discipline of love,
The friend whose way of seeing is an endless startlement, a graced surprise.
We read to remember that we cannot, by nature, 
Exist in isolation, for we are living beings spoken into living story
By the breath of God, the living Word,
Whose name is Love,
The author who tells us whole and knits us together.
We read to remember that we are never alone.