Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Now that I’m back in Idaho in my MFA community, people ask if I’m going to write about the Camino. The writing in my diary and the more creative sort of writing I’ve done on this blog are as much as I plan to do right now. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. There are plenty of books and memoirs others have written, and I don’t feel a need to add to that body of work, but I can point people towards authors and titles if anyone’s interested in reading more.

Since I’ve gotten back, people have asked me if my trip on the Camino was spiritual. They’ll ask if it was life-changing. The answer is yes, but it was spiritual and life changing in a lot of little ways. There were no giant miracles, but it was indeed a pilgrimage.

The lessons I learned were small but important, the sort of lessons that if you simply state them rather than experience them they sound cliché, and so I’ll refrain from writing them here. They’re the sort of lessons that you have to learn over and over again: Every day on the Camino you go through the same routine of walking and searching for a bed and searching for a meal and searching for friends and going to sleep, and every day you live the same routine of facing a difficulty and dealing with it. Humans need to learn lessons more than once, and with the Camino each step is a lesson if you are paying attention, each step works wisdom into your muscles, so that hopefully when you go back to your normal life wisdom will reside in your body and not be forgotten so easily.

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