Waiting for Thoreau


Pond image courtesy of kconnors, Morguefile.

There are times when I read some books and contemplate actually doing what the main character is doing. Take Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, for example. It’s nice to fantasize sometimes about living in a cabin in the woods, with my possessions reduced to their minimum (much easier to tidy things up that way), and contemplate the essential meaning of life while doing simple activities.

Thoreau said, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary.” I have to admire that; he recognized the preciousness of life.

But I don’t think I’d want to stay in the woods for too long. I’d miss some of the essential elements of life: chocolate, YouTube, chocolate, Facebook, libraries, chocolate, e-mail, chocolate and oh, yes…did I mention chocolate?


“You’re moving next door? Really? Wow!” Image courtesy of alice10, Morguefile.

ITV takes this concept up a notch in their miniseries “Lost in Austen”. In this show, modern-day ardent Austen fan Amanda Price trades places with Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice. Amanda has the advantage of knowing what’s going on (such as the ball at Netherfield) but things get out of whack and it’s funny watching her trying to adjust to that era.

Although if I really wanted to recreate a book…I’d pick Jules Verne’s Around The World In 80 Days. I’d see fabulous sights, meet interesting people, and take you guys along (virtually speaking) because I’d blog about the whole experience. My camera would faint from sheer exhaustion due to all the photos I’d take. Plus, I’d have to hire at least two traveling companions, get multiple visas and figure out the best (and safest) routes from one city to another. Just let me win the lottery first and I’ll get back to you on that. Oh, well.

Readers, what would be your favorite book to imitate in real life?



Filed under Writing

30 responses to “Waiting for Thoreau

  1. I don’t know, I don’t find that my life is little enough to need to copy or to escape within the dream of someone else. I tend to smile and to identify when I notice that something in my life is in parallel to something similar written in a book that I choose. I, too, can notice when I have moved away from what I might view as important or refreshing to my spirit in those same moments of noticing.

  2. Enchanted April…set in Portofino, need I say more.

  3. What a fun question! Let me see…..hmmmm……what book? I would want to go back in time to simple times and into the deep South, so Cold Sassy Tree. Or maybe to era with unlikely heroes…..Seabiscuit. I’ll be thinking about this for the rest of the day.

  4. Oooh, so many possibilities here. “Jane Eyre” is my all-time favorite, but I’d also like to experience something like “The Scarlet Pimpernel”!

  5. Zorro but only if I’m Zorro and I get the horse, the mask and the sword.

  6. “Brave New World” might be fun to escape into for a short while. Though sadly I think albeit a little late we’re all on our way to living in “1984.” But, if I had to choose one I wanted to try living in… “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” would be fun. You just have bring a towel and not mind a fish living in your ear and you’re all set to go… 😉

  7. Maybe I shouldn’t comment when there isn’t one book. I tend to enjoy a dishwasher and love Bose’ sound driving fast on I-5. As much as love stories about our simpler days.

    There have been settings where I wanted to go after reading about them. New Orleans vacation was directly visited due to a book.

    I tend to desire to know characters I read about. If I could go into a story it would be to meet a character.

    • You can name more than one book if you like. But now I’m curious…which character (or two or three) of a story would you like to meet? I wouldn’t mind meeting the entire group of characters from a Nora Roberts novel, for example. Especially her Boonsboro trilogy.

  8. I also can’t name one book, but I tend to desire a feeling a book gives me. How can I have that feeling in my life?
    I’ve often wanted to know a character from a book. To have that friend in my life.
    The 10 days I spent in NOLA was because of a book I read, a great place!!

  9. I envy you! I’d love to see New Orleans one day.

    I visited Cape Ann in Massachusetts also due to a book. And when I was there…I visited this gift shop, the outside of which looked strangely familiar. I couldn’t think why and was greatly puzzled, since I had never been to Cape Ann before. I walked into the shop and the mystery was solved…on a table was an issue of the magazine Country Living, and the gift shop was the cover photo.

  10. Impybat

    ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”. I think I could deal with the White Witch as long as there are talking animals. And I like to think I couldn’t be bribed with Turkish Delight.

  11. Stephen King 1964. I want to get a good hamburger, have my first car back and cheap gas. And as a plus stop a crime.

  12. Correction: Stephen King 1963.

  13. I love works by naturalists, but my favorite books are garden essays. Dianne

    • Hey, you could always be Vita Sackville-West. She was an amazing gardener and they keep up her gardens at Sissinghurst. Or join us in “Enchanted April”. Most of that movie seems to happen in the garden.

  14. Jaclyn

    I think I could quite happily live in the woods for an extended period of time. I’m a solitude-loving introvert, and all that peace and quiet sounds like heaven to me. Aside from “Walden,” I wouldn’t mind living “A Year In Provence.” Fabulous French food, fixing up a rambling old farmhouse, and collecting anecdotes about crazy locals? I could do that!


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s