I listened to this episode of the podcast on my way home from work. It revolutionized my thought process about How to Read posts for Pen to Public.
Hussey did a first. He read “Catcher in the Rye” and gave a life lesson at the end. He started with a summary of the novel and finished with his takeaway that can be applied to life.
Typically his podcast episodes run as ‘here is a problem (from a woman) and I have the perspective from a man so I have some relationship advice for you!’ I enjoyed them, and I’m sure they’ve gone in one ear and out the other, it was always sound advice and if they applied to me, I would have subconsciously used them.
His titles range from “These three text messages will improve your love life!” and “Here’s what to do if your boyfriend has a close female friend.”
But this episode was so insightful and came out of left field. Why had I not thought of doing a takeaway? I’m reading for the sole reason to know about the book so I can pretentiously say “Oh, I’ve read that classic” and be condescending. I feel hoity toity that I had seen the true value of books: they are life lessons in black and white.
I knew there was something missing from my analysis of Tess which is why I haven’t published it yet. I recall mentally going over the one I made for Christmas Carol and I kept straying back to my point of “tithing is important.” I assumed it was because I used “tithing” correctly and therefore sounded intelligent. How pretentious of me.
Now I know it is due to the fact that I gave a personal interpretation. I gave my perspective, which from what I’ve read from articles, is the secret ingredient to successful blogs. Like, hello, connecting dots.
And Hussey’s takeaway was incredible as well: if you are feeling low and want to give up (life, love, work, etc), finding someone else who is also in need and coaching them through life, developing a mentor-mentee relationship, finding a reason to keep going because someone else depends on you will give you the strength to persevere. Holden Caufield had his younger sister. The plot was about this young man wanting to run away but had to say goodbye to his sibling and she desired the same thing, but he stayed for her. He decided to brave the world again for her.
I immediately thought of my friend Savannah. She has more issues than I. She’s a compulsive liar. Like, every time I meet up with her there’s an astounding story that’s happening in her life. At first, it ticked me off. When she said she enrolled into a masters program when I knew she hadn’t even completed her certification program, how do I not roll my eyes? I was like she was spitting in the face of all the hard work that goes into completing a degree and going onto graduate school. then I realized that she was using her lies as a security blanket. Something else, something fancy was going on behind the scenes. She could use a helping hand. Whether or not she was in denial about them or if she was even willing to accept help was another matter.
The thing is, there is a fine line between joining a fellow depressed person to hobble each other’s way to recovery and finding misery in company and depending on the other as a crutch. Savannah has a friend named Alfred who, without going into specifics, I don’t see moving beyond his place in life because he doesn’t have ambition.
They’ve both become pathetic and feed on each other. I suppose they didn’t go into the friendship with the strict objective of lifting lifestyles. They wanted company. They were lonely. They found a kindred spirit.
So the line is the purpose. I want to use her plight as plot inspiration. I don’t know how yet, but one day, as I’ve laid out a literal plan, it’ll give me courage to hold my hand out to her and ask if she needs help.
But for now, I can read books, be inspired and become a better person. Find the gentle lessons in them and apply to life.