Monday, July 06, 2009

The Zahir, and other fine subjects

Last week I finished reading Paulo Coelho's The Zahir, which I bought at Casa del Libro on Gran Via before I left Madrid. I have discovered that I like to linger over Mr. Coelho's books, because they are truly works of art. He has a beautiful mind and a way with words that spins stories of suspense, depth and insight. The Zahir intrigued me for many reasons. It is about a famous author whose wife suddenly disappears, and the long journey that brings him back to her. Curiously, this distracted and worldly man writes about spirituality, which is precisely what his wife saw that he lacked. While he wrote about love and a deeper connection with a central energy/idea of God, his marriage didn't measure up. I think this is a very interesting take on novel writing, to pen a man's journey back to the woman he loves. To discover why he loves her in the first place, and what it will take to unite them geographically and emotionally. The ending also got me thinking. Information revealed on the final page should leave the reader feeling sad for this man, and yet I put down the book feeling inspired. It took me a while, but I figured out why. The novel had begun with emptiness and confusion, and ended with love. Simply, purely love. So it doesn't matter that the ending wasn't ideal for our fine gentleman. What matters is that the surprise revealed on the final page is one of Love. The more I thought about it, the more appropriate it became. Paulo Coelho frequently writes about the importance of Love. Singular, all-encompassing, and unconditional. The pages of The Zahir are filled with our main character trying to funnel and simplify his life into what he has discovered is most important to him: his ability to love another with his entire self. Well everyone, it's on my shelf if you would like to borrow it!

Although my free time lately has been a little tight, I have of course begun a new book. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. My AP Literature teacher in high school, the famous Connie Cutler, told us quite a few times that this was one of her most favorite novels. I trust her taste in books (even though she doesn't love Jude the Obscure as much as I do), so I hope it's a good one. Kingsolver is still setting the scene, I'm only on page 50 or so, but it's promising to be a great read. I frequently crack it open on my breaks at work. On that subject, lately I feel as if I should pick out some bedding at Target and set up camp behind my register. My life is eat sleep Target, repeat! I am thankful for the hours and enjoy my job so much... but man oh man, my feet hurt and sometimes I want to raise an evil eyebrow when I hear, "what do you mean my card was declined?!" Most of the time, and by that I mean 99% of the time, it's all fun. I see people I know, I talk to people and learn about all kinds of different things. Retail is what you make of it!

An exciting moment I had today was when one of my supervisors, Erlyn, frantically called at me to come to a different register. When I arrived, she was waiting for me to translate for a customer! Yay, I got to use my Spanish. The woman had 2 products and wanted to know if they were the same or what the differences were between them. It was an electronics product, so I had fun figuring out that one in my head! She made no big deal about my bilingual abilities- but my supervisors did! I thought Erlyn was going to break out into song about me being able to speak Spanish. I remember the day I told her, just a simple "by the way" comment so she would know if she ever needed help with a customer. So excited she was! And it truly is exciting and wonderful, and a gift to be able to speak another language. I can literally communicate with millions more people than someone who speaks only English. I think about all of the people I spoke with in Spain, and now beginning here and it makes me realize what a huge impact this knowledge has on my life. Es un regalito que ha majorado mi vida para siempre, no? ;)

Tomorrow is day 7 of my 9 days of working, and sleep is needed. Time to round up the puppies and pile us all into my bed - goodnight, blogland readers.

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