Getting Lost and Happy About It
I am so happy to be home and happier still that there are no more trips scheduled for either work or pleasure coming in the next two months. It is a wonderful feeling to see the view from my own windows even though the weather is gray, windy and chilly. It has been a very long week being away from hearth and home, and it was marvelous to be so warmly welcomed home with the bear hugs and kisses of my husband and the enthusiastic yelps and yips of joy issuing from the fuzzier half of my family. Oh, and the bliss of, once again, sleeping in my own bed.
I spent the week working in Scottsdale, Arizona. Never having been to Arizona before I was looking forward to seeing it. I was amazed at the desert’s many shades of brown, beige, dun and burnt orange punctuated with sage-grey and lavender. When I arrived on Monday afternoon I did get to see a bit of spectacular desert sun, though it rained for the rest of the week. I had to laugh when I realized that pretty much the only green I was going to see during my stay were the green road signs on the interstate, unless I had a salad with a meal. While the pieces of Arizona I saw were majestically and starkly beautiful against a backdrop of gray skies and purple mountains, and the weather as temperate as it is in Florida in the winter, there was only one reason I could think of that entice me to move there—no yard work.
Hunting something wonderful for supper gave me the opportunity to be amazed at the number of Italian restaurants and New York-style pizza places. There were, of course, a great many eateries featuring Mexican foods. When I couldn’t imagine eating one more plate of pasta or fried beans and rice, I found myself eating at a pancake house because it was empty, and I could retire to a comfortable booth and read my book without any distractions.
During that week, I read four books, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. My favorite, though, was All He Ever Wanted by Anita Shreve. You may remember I told you I had discovered this author on one of my previous trips when I read Light on Snow. I anticipated my new acquisition to be similar to her first. To my utter delight, I was wrong. Shreve does not write with a formula in the way that many other pop-fiction authors write. All He Ever Wanted was so different in style and era, but her character studies in this book were just as richly colored and textured and as deliciously satisfying as in Light on Snow. I sat over a mug of tea and the remnants of supper for two evenings lost in early 1900s New England. This world gripped me wholly. I was enthralled and totally immersed in a post-Victorian world when the automobile was a new-fangled pleasure coming to life until such time as my tea proved too chilled to drink and the cleaning staff was running the vacuum cleaner beneath my feet. When I looked up, I felt as Alice must have when she tumbled down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, not knowing where she was, feeling disoriented. It was only after paying my bill and stepping outside into the fragrant Arizona evening air, was I able to really get my bearings, so pleasantly had I been lost.
While this was a story of unrequited love it was more a look at the choices made in pursuit of that so badly wanted love and their attendant consequences. The story’s hero, Professor Nicholas Van Tassel, was at points reprehensible and at the same time amusingly pompous and eminently likeable. The story is from his perspective as an old man taking a journey to attend a beloved sister’s funeral as he looks back at the only thing he ever wanted, possessed for a short time and lost forever. He is so self-aware, and it is that self-awareness which makes this tale vividly astonishing and a sheer and utter pleasure in which to have been so splendidly trapped.
When you find you can’t move about due to circumstances or the consequences of the choices you’ve made, dive eyes first into All He Ever Wanted; your mind and heart will soon follow. I promise the time will fly by so swiftly you will forget where you are.
Speaking of choices, I find that I am no longer confined to a single room with just one window and getting a cup of tea doesn’t require an elevator ride and a hike down long hallways. Nor am I belted into the not quite comfortable confines of the coach section of an airplane. Now I am free to move about and make choices of my own. So if you’ll pardon me, a nap in my own bed sounds really wonderful about now.
At age 10, Anne realized she was never going to get to be Miss America since reading a book was not an acceptable talent. So she went on to get a job and raise a family. Along the way, she fixed meals, picked up toys, helped with homework, and collected a drawer full of rejection slips for her “great American novel.” It was not all bad, however, since she ended up wallpapering a closet with them. She currently designs and creates greeting cards for her tiny company, The Frog Prints, LLC, and also works full-time as a Training Specialist. Anne is currently tethered to reality by a loving spouse, two dogs, one cat and the occasional hurricane that blows through Florida, although falling headlong and happily into a book is still her favorite “talent.” She can be reached at