Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Alchemist

I picked up the alchemist this week. I went to the library and checked out this book, because I had received an email from my boss. The email from my boss contained a link to a youtube video. The email was about believing. I followed the link in the email. When I got to youtube I realized the video was more than 9 minutes long. I don't have a lot of time and I thought to myself, I will listen for a couple minutes. I was distracted several times during watching the video, at some points even having to leave the room I was in. Each time I would pause the video and I came back. I watched the entire video. The video was clips from interviews given by the well-known actor and singer Will Smith. During this video Will referenced the alchemist just once. I heard him say The Alchemist, what he referenced I can't remember now. Because he referenced it together with the message he was giving I felt an urge to find this book. His message was about your personal legend and believing in it.

I am in several classes this semester, I work pretty much full-time and I have a three year old. I don't have a lot of time for leisure. I also haven't ever been a strong reader, although I love to write, I have always struggled to read. So taking the time during this semester to read for pleasure was not in the plans, to say the least. Bear with me here because this story gets much much better...

The way in which I found the library and the time to go there and check out this book was quite phenomenal, to me, in it's own right. It was Tuesday morning when I had distractedly watched the video. I was studying feverishly for a biology exam that I had to take at 12:30pm. I had to leave by 11:45am. Several weeks prior to receiving this email, I had come out of biology class one Tuesday and found my usual route of stairs to be taped off and under construction. There were some girls in front of me and they said we will go to the other set down here. I followed them and there near the stairs down the hall was the library. I have been attending this college for three semesters and I hadn't know where the library was until that moment. I do love books, even though I have never been a strong reader. Good to know I thought to myself.

Well on the Tuesday that I had watched the video, I went to class and took my exam and was allowed to leave after I finished my exam which was earlier than usual. I had some time to kill before going to lab. I went to the library. I was definitely intimidated at first, because I don't spend a lot of time in libraries although I have always adored them. Also I had never been in this library and knew nothing of how it worked. I was afraid of looking stupid. I went anyway. I walked in, looked around, performed a sort of survey. Really, I was looking for a computer that said something related to search books or electronic card catalog here. I didn't see anything like that, so I went down a few aisles. I thought how hard can it be right. There has to be a method to the placement of these books. Quickly I realized I didn't know the author's name and I better just ask for help. I found my way to the front and asked a few questions. Which led to me signing up for my library card and being directed to a desk labeled reference.

The reference desk is where I met Jack. Really nice, thin, older gentleman who seemed genuinely interested in what I was looking for. Whenever I encounter this kind of genuineness I am usually a little startled by it. I told him that I was in search of a book titled The Alchemist, but I wasn't sure of the author. He looked it up in his computer and jotted a few notes and off we went into the sea of columned books. He explained to me how to understand and read the writing on the columns in order to find the book I was looking for. I hadn't even told him that it was my first time in the library, I had figured that I had gushed enough about it at the front desk while receiving my library card. I supposed he just knew. He had mentioned to me as I was leaving that it was a great book and I should let him know what I thought of it. I was really surprised by him.

As I mentioned I attending college right now. I am currently working towards receiving my Associate's of Arts degree with a major in Creative Writing. I am in two poetry classes this semester. Recently we started working on our final analysis on the elements of poetry in one of my classes. Last weekend I completed my final analysis for the class, it ended up being my best. I came across this poem "The Tyger," by William Blake. I had known his poem "London," from earlier in the semester. I had liked "London" just fine, but "The Tyger" was amazing. I read the poem over and over analyzing it. I felt really connected to the poem and ever since to William Blake. 

So I read the book at every chance I got. I found myself realizing that I hadn't brought my book with during times of waiting even just for 5-10 minutes and was upset with myself for not having my book. This was definitely new to me, it genuinely surprised me to feel this way.

I just finished the book a few minutes ago. In the back of the book they have a reader's guide, I skimmed it. Next, came a map of the shepherd's travels, that was pretty cool (I Love Maps)! Then an interview with the Author. I glanced at the first two questions and in the second question at the top of the page, who does the author reference? None other than Mr. William Blake! I nearly jumped out of my skin! And my heart leapt with joy! It was an omen! Not the first in the series that were shown to me in the Journey of reading this book, but for me certainly the most significant. I will be thinking of this for days, maybe even longer.

I leave you with my favorite part from the book:

The boy didn't know what a person's "Personal Legend" was.
 The Old King told him, "it's what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are, knows what their Personal Legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as times passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend."

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