guard your privacy: be careful when opening books!

Watch out for your books.

Monday I was feeling pretty depressed about something. I was feeling — I don’t know — embarrassed, rejected, naive, very naive. Not suprisingly, when I’m feeling like that without the distraction of work in the writing center (or some other external work) — it’s spring break — I didn’t get much done. I read two articles (an Elbow and an Bartholomae), but that was about it.

Anyway, here’s my cautionary tale.

As I was heading out the door to Subway for lunch, I glanced at the titles in the bookcase by the front door. I picked up Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns, M.D. I opened and my eyes landed on: “Do you know why virtually any meaningful activity has a decent chance of brightening your mood? If you do nothing, you will become preoccupied with the flood of negative destructive thoughts” (94).

“I know, I know,” I huffed.

Then I picked up Selected Journals of Henry David Thoreau. I opened and my eyes landed on: “I was going to sit and write and mope all day in the house, but it seems wise to cultivate animal spirits, to embark in enterprises which employ and recreate the whole body” (187).

At first — okay, okay — I admit I did give Henry a quick smile (because I like him). But right after that I felt like punching these two guys in their ghostly noses.

Leave me alone!

I hate it when other people — I don’t care what geniuses they were/are — stick their noses into your life and tell you what to do. And, no, it doesn’t help to tell yourself that you opened up the books voluntarily or that you had read those lines previously and had underlined them and had well-creased the spines — again, seemingly out of free-will.

It’s still an invasion.

What? Have they actually been watching me, rather than just sitting there quietly waiting to be read??


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