As I mentioned some posts back, my life has changed and I no longer volunteer at the historic places where I worked after I retired. First my knees went bad, then my back, not so bad that I can't hike with the dog at Timber Creek Dog Park, or around Pakim Pond or down the Cranberry Trail, just too bad to stand for 4 hours giving tours.
When I retired, I first joined the Outdoor Club, but aged out of that eventually too. I ruptured a disc taking a kayak off the top of a car, and that was the beginning of back troubles, but again, my back isn't bad 99% of the time, but I can't sleep on the gound, or portage a kayak or carry a 40 pound back pack anymore. Nor can I hike 6 or 7 miles. I am aware that people much older than I am can do all of those things and I'm not saying people my age can't, only that I can't.
That said, however, my point is that I don't volunteer anymore or do Outdoor Club activities anymore. But I do other things, 2 mile hikes, historic town visits, lunches with friends at interesting places, and I READ A LOT.
All my life, from early childhood, I have been an avid reader. And I LOVE to write. I have a trunk full of diaries dating back 50 years! So, as you saw by my last post, I had just finished my third independently published book, a memoir of a road trip around 38 countries of Europe which I finsihed a month or so ago and launched at a reunion luncheon of my high school classmates in mid-December.
I have read a lot of books this autumn but the ones I enjoyed the most were the two I blogged about earlier that had to do with the life of trees, and one I finished a week ago, the autobiography of Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run.
Now, even if my blog is not longer about historic places necessarily, it does still stick to the tri-state area and places to go and things to do, so, Bruce belongs here since he was raised in Freehold, New Jersey, a place I have visited often, and since his career started in such places a the Stone Pony (no longer existant) a historic place, to be sure.
True I don't get up there often now as my car is also experiencing the effects of aging. It is 10 years old and still running fine, but I am reluctant to do the long trips I used to do such as to Jim Thorpe, Pa., or Manasquan and points north along the shore, Sandy Hook, etc.
What I liked about Bruce Springsteen's Autobiography, Born to Run, is that (1.) it talks about his childhood and his conflicted relationship with his father. I am very interested in family relationship narratives (2.) the behind the scenes of the music busines (my daughter and her boyfriend are both in this business (3.) the inspiration and motivation for his writing and lyrics (always interesting to me as a writer, and (4.) his philosophy and outlook as he enters the same period of his life as I am now in.
Bruce struggled with depression, of a far more intense version than the wispy clouds of melancholy that often drift across my consciousness as I reflect on my life and the loss of loved ones. It was very interesting to me to see how he deals with that. I found the book enlightening and entertaining. In case you think that because I love reading, I am a Pollyanna and love everything I read I can tell you I followed Bruce's book with one I HATED: P. J. O'Rourke's The Baby Boom. It was meant to be funny, and I suppose even witty, but I found it silly and annoying, like a drunk at a party who makes snide comments about everything when you are trying to hear the guest speaker. I learned a lot from Bruce's book, nothing at all from P. J. O'Rourkes' book, though I forced myself to finish it.
Where did I hear about these books? I read a LOT of magazines:
Harpers, Atlantic, Oxford, Time, This Week, Early American Life, Vanity FAir, Martha Stewart Living, to name a few, and I will sometimes buy a few I haven't subscribed to such as Genealogy and Ancestry magazines. I read the book reviews and buy books that sound as though they might be interesting, and I listen to NPR on the radio and I hear a great number of interviews with authors.
I do not belong to a book club and I don't want to read books chosen by members of a book club. Popular fiction rarely holds any interest for me and I prefer to follow my own jagged path through the forest of available books.
So, I do heartily recommend this Jersey Boy's Book to you: Born To Run. You can probably get it second hand from amazon.com by now at a good price. I will end this post with a quote from it:
actually two quotes:
1 "Just when I thought I was in the part of my life where I'm supposed to be cruising, my sixties were a rough rough ride." pg.500
2. "Writing about yourself is a funny business. At the end of the day, it's just another story, the story you've chosen from the events of your life." pg. 501
The end is so filled with wisdoem and interesting thoughts, I have to add one more:
3."In analysis, you work to turn the ghosts that haunt you into ancestors who accompany you."
Whether you path takes you through the woods or through a book, Happy Trails! Jo Ann
Wow, in a couple of days it will be 2017.