Saturday, October 31, 2015

Week 6: 10/6-10/9

The Book of Wanderings

Doubt is a big theme in this book whether it's Meyers doubting herself about why she was on the journey or if it was doubt in her religion. I found this to be one of the themes I connected with most. Doubt is a part of everyday life and I would say doubt in myself is something I definitely struggle with. Meyers husband knew that this trip was necessary for her, and was one of her biggest supporters. One thing we talked about in class was how doubt either strengthens or creates a new path. In Meyers case, I think her doubt strengthened her. Even though she had a lot of doubt about why she had gone, in the end I think she discovered more about the world that she felt she was missing before. The emptiness of not living her dream needed to be filled and that is what this trip ultimately did for her. 

Visiting Writer- Kimberly Meyer Reflection:
            Listening to Meyers in person, made me fall in love with this book even more. Reading it left me confused at times and I didn’t always understand her views when I started reading, but now I understand. Not only do I have a better grasp on the book, I also realized how much I admire and resonate with what Meyers is struggling with throughout the story.
First off, I totally understand what Meyers is saying when she talks about missing her chance to have a “bohemian-explorer-intellectual kind of life.” I’ve always felt this deep feeling that I need to adventure and explore the world. Probably not in the same way Meyer follows a historic and religious path, but I’ve always felt this internal need to get out and explore. I can never say exactly why I feel this way, but it just feels like something that’s always been a part of me. When I dream of my future, I see myself exploring other cultures and having the explorer lifestyle. Although I won’t know what the future hold for me, I understand why Meyers felt this trip was so necessary.
The other way I really relate to Meyers, is her struggle with religion and her beliefs. We grew up differently, but I think as of right now we are in a similar place of “seeking.” Seeking for some higher power or something base all your belief on. Unlike Meyers, I grew up without any religious affiliation. My parents are Buddhist and Christian, but they never enforced any religious beliefs on me. As I started to get older this left me questioning what I believed in. All my friends had religious affiliations passed down to them by their parents, but I was left questioning. I started to go to religious services with my friends, but I never had that moment where I completely accepted God or any other religion. In a few moments, I felt the presence of God or some force in my life, but I couldn’t get myself to truly be a believer and convince myself of some higher power. I was never 100% convinced that God was real. I’ve always been questioning the religious aspect of my life because it bothers me that I can’t say what I believe in, but after listening to Meyers and hearing the struggle she is also going though made me feel better about where I am with my beliefs. I feel more confident in saying that I’m doubtful, but seeking.
Meyers talked about religion and her need to explore as a yearning for something more. I don’t think I could have put it any better, because this put all my thoughts into words. An interesting response that had never crossed my mind, to the yearning Meyers talked about was when she said she had her biggest revelation of the trip. It was on top of Mt. Cyanide. And she summarized it as, God gives us this yearning so we become more connected with him. This really made me step back and think. I don’t know if it’s because after listening to Meyers I began to admire her words, but this makes sense in how I view my beliefs.
All in all, this was a great experience that I enjoyed and benefitted from more than I anticipated. I’ve never gone to a book reading and getting to ask the author personal questions about her story was an experience most people don’t get. Now that I’ve listened to her in person, it has changed how I read the book. When I read it I can picture her on this journey and how she interacts with people make more sense to me now that I’ve heard her speak about them and seen their faces.

As I Lay Dying
Initial Thoughts: 
This is probably one of the most difficult books I've had to read and I'm very confused. The bouncing back between characters is a lot to keep track of. I have questions about the family dynamics because I'm really confused. From what I've read, I go that the mother is dying and the whole family is trying to get ready for her death. Their is definitely some favoritism between the children, but I can't tell exactly where everyone in the family stands with each other.

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