I’ve never been one to need a hard chair and a desk and white board to get me some education ;). The first month I was sick with some weird ‘bronchitis/pneumonia’ (i.e.: precursor to the Full-Blown Lyme Takeover), I watched a heck of a lot of movies, which I believed was the dominion of the sick, and was practically expected of me. I borrowed the complete set of Monty Python Dvd’s from my neighbour, and imagined I could truly laugh away the problems. I could ‘spend’ the time of illness by ignoring the ticking hands of the clock and loose myself in british comedy. That was fun for like, 1 hour. I’ve seen movies where sick kids watch movies all day, which sounds like fun in theory, but honestly, I watched ‘Flashdance’ and ‘The God’s Must be Crazy’ (1 & 2) in one afternoon and it wasn’t as diverting as pop culture has led me to believe. As the credits rolled, I still was lying prone on the couch, my head pounding and the wet in my lungs tickling, making me cough. And I was 6 hours of my life poorer.
I made a decision when I had to stop going to school in Grade 10 that if I was going to spend this time in my life chasing that elusive dragon of health, I was going to read every damn classic I could lay my hands on. Everything is a tall order, but being 15 I thought it was manageable ;). I’d had a mental list of ‘fabulous books’ that I wanted to have the time to read, and here was my big chance…I’d run out of excuses. I dreamed of greedily savouring Sommerset Maughn adventures, Tolstoy’s & Dumas’ dramas, dive headlong into the worlds of C.S. Lewis, Wilde, Juvenal, Homer, Margret Atwood, Jules Verne, HG Wells…and why stop at novels? “Leaves of Grass”, the wordsmiths Wordsworth, Keats, T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare, Horace…a world teeming with emotion, poured into words, neat little rows of toy-soldier-letters, infinite patterns. Words. I didn’t need to leave my bed to travel to pastoral England, ride to Tibet, fall in love with Paris, and St. Petersburg, the sea floor, a wardrobe. The future, the past…it was all here. It was waiting for me.
The further I travelled back in literary time – that is to say, the older books I began to read – I began expanding & redefining my horizons, seeking out global classics. I also found myself combing the e-shelves for religious texts and holy documents from a wide breadth of religions, from the obscure, long dead, and current religions, and some semi-religious philosophies for a healthy balance. The Popul Vuh, teachings of Buddha, Qur’an, Hebrew & New Testament Bibles, Gathas, world ‘Myths’…I began collecting religions the way some people collect rocks. Was a part of me searching for the ‘way’, the answer, the meaning of it all? Honestly, I’m not sure. I’ve yet to find it in one volume, anyway. I’ve come to see the ‘wisdom’ and ‘truth’ as scattered, and global religions as each gathering but a seed from the ‘dandelion of truth’ (work with me here, people. the meaning of the universe is in a dandelion. deal with it.). Not an original deduction by any means, but I felt sure that the overlap of ideas in holy/philosophic works represented some universal truths. I tried ‘god’ – both the uppercase and lowercase variety; plural, infinite, natural, and monotheist – and it wasn’t for me.