Books and Words. “When it happens, you just know.”

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

Several weeks ago, one of my kind Family History Class members handed me a copy of an interesting memoir by a woman named Amy Krouse Rosenthal called Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life.  I’ve finally had some time to sit down on this rainy Sunday afternoon and begin reading what this Amy had to say.  I found myself doing exactly what she described on the back cover:

To get a true sense of the book, I have to spend a few moments inside. I’ll glance at the first couple pages, then flip around to somewhere in the middle, see if the language matches me somehow. It’s like dating, only with sentences.  Some sentences, no matter how well-dressed or nice, just don’t do it for me.  Others I click with instantly.  It could be something as simple yet weirdly potent as a single word (tangerine). We’re meant to be, that sentence and me. And when it happens, you just know.”

I found words and thoughts that matched mine, which is always a delightful experience. Her memoir is organized alphabetically, like an encyclopedia of random thoughts with words that tell and show her feelings about them.  I felt the details she noticed and the words she used to describe them.  Amy Krouse Rosenthal has shown me a good idea of what to do with all the dozens of lists I’ve made of things to write about someday–snippet thoughts that don’t necessarily sting together into stories, but that are worth capturing.

I am going to start my own encyclopedia.  I’m happy to have these examples to learn from.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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