THE INVENTION OF WINGS by Sue Monk Kidd
Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 – pick #3
I just started reading Sue Monk Kidd’s acclaimed novel, The Invention of Wings because it was selected as the latest pick for Oprah’s phenomenal book club. As I’ve discussed before, I am extremely passionate about reading and anyone who promotes reading with the gusto and fervor that Oprah Winfrey does, always has my support. So I read her selections religiously. And what I find when I read a book club selection is that I’m not just reading it for the story or the characters or the writing, I’m reading it for the life lessons. I believe that we learn so much from reading. We learn who we are, what we love, what we hate. We discover our fears and we challenge our beliefs. Reading is life’s classroom.
I also feel that books come to you at certain times in your life for specific reasons. Fate brings a book into your hands and turns the pages. In the latest issue of Oprah Magazine, Oprah writes about The Invention of Wings as a book that “heightened my sense of what it meant to be a woman – slave or free.” She talks about all of the “unsung heroines who played a role in getting us to where we are.” As I mentioned in my earlier post, I have just welcomed my first child into the world and it has changed everything. It has changed the way I view a woman’s life, a mother’s love, family and the future. Now I look at my actions as lessons to teach my son. I want to show him how to be a good person, how to be brave and strong and hopeful and optimistic. Strength and bravery above all else because this life will test you and challenge you and bring obstacles at every turn.
Kidd explains the inspiration behind the stories she writes,”I’m always captivated by stories of women who find a way to be daring – misbehaving women.” She continues, “I was interested in how my characters could invent their own freedom, their own voices in the world – their wings.” I have found that in many ways life (and the people you meet throughout your journey) can sometimes try and push you into the “normal” and “accepted” way of life. Follow the pack, do what everyone is doing, obey the rules. But sometimes this doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t sit well in your heart. You yearn to break free and live a life of your own design. To be daring, to misbehave, is often condemned even if it is what your heart desires. As Steve Jobs once said, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules…You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things…they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” What I am learning is that we are going to find times in our life when we have to rebel, we have to break the rules and be “crazy” enough to change the status quo.
“I can feel the voices of all those who yearned to be heard, to leave their marks, to say, ‘I existed.'” Don’t we all want to prove we existed? Don’t we question what marks we will leave behind? Nevermore is this more evident then when you have a child. You want to know that what you have done for them, the life you have helped them create, will be lasting, that your memory and the memories you create will live on. That you will teach them to be strong and good. That you will show them how to find happiness. That you will help them leave their marks as you have learned to leave your own.
“The Invention of Wings is an open door, an invitation to see ourselves and our history in a way that allows us to heal even more,” said Oprah in the January issue of Oprah Magazine. I want to see myself more clearly. I want to step through that open door and learn from every moment of my life. I want to get my hands dirty with life and see the beauty of all that has happened to me and all that will happen.
So I am beginning my journey into motherhood, my journey into a new year, with a new book, The Invention of Wings. I want to see how its lessons can be applied to my life. I want to see if I can find similarities within the pages of this book and relate to them on a personal level. I am excited to take part in this book club and to continue to apply the lessons from books I read to the life I am living. We are all living a shared experience and literature helps highlight our similarities. There are a number of books I am looking forward to reading over the coming months (The Goldfinch and The Signature of All Things, to name a few) and I’m looking forward to relating my literary journey here, with others. Read along with me. Voice your opinions. Speak your mind. And feel free to throw out some recommendations. This blog is my journal, my space for sorting out my thoughts, learning about myself, showing my gratitude and allowing my curiosity for life to run wild.