You know it’s time to come out from that pile of books you’ve been behind for the past three weeks when your husband, in all seriousness, wonders about shooting them. Not because he’s annoyed, mind you, but curious. He’s been left to himself too much, I think.
From where he sat on the couch across from my desk, I could barely see his face. He’d been staring at the pile of memoir and creative nonfiction books I’m using for the courses I’m teaching at OLLI, life-long learning center at Furman and the upcoming Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference.
“If we stood them up in a row, and I shot through the first one, I wonder how many the bullet would go through,” he said. He’s grinning. I know he’d really like to try. I eye my precious pile and shudder to imagine a clean hole—like those gauge earrings you could put a curtain rod through—ripping through Jeannette Walls’ Glass Castle and Rick Bragg’s All Over But the Shoutin’. A perfect illustration of Lopate’s To Show and To Tell. I can see the perfect hole going straight through the Q in Susan Cain’s Quiet, a book about the challenges of introverts in an extrovert world.
As scary as it is, this idea of fun is not as bad as the one he had a few weeks earlier. Our little half-acre is surrounded by sweet gum trees, which not only block sun and sky, but drop those spiky balls over every inch of my yard, pool, and deck. They’re expensive to have cut and are too tall for us to take down ourselves.
Or so I thought.
It had been another stretch when I was anchored to my desk and Bob was without any jobs or projects going on. He came in from outside. “I know which trees I’m going to take down.” The glint in his eye alarms me. I immediately get up and follow him outside. He points to two towering giants. I don’t need to remember my high school geometry on how to calculate heights to know that two of the three possible directions these trees can fall will be disastrous—one through the pool, the other through the roof. That he has to land them in one specific spot only adds to the excitement.
I don’t take the bait; I know my protestations will add to his fun.
But after seeing him restlessly eyeing my book pile last night, I know it’s time for him to have a project, so I’ve pointed out an equally tall tree on the other side of the yard. It has sufficient potential for danger and disaster—a miscalculated landing on the fence, garden or gazebo—and the great potential for victory and a day well spent.
The introvert has spared her books. The extrovert can have his tree.
May Blessings Abundant,