Last night, I finished another book that had been hanging out on my bookshelf, waiting to be read. I found this book in the bargain section at Border's one rainy Saturday. The bargain section is my favorite area in any bookstore. It's like a treasure hunt for diamonds in the rough. I have found so many wonderful books in the bargain section that I otherwise never would have read. Yeah, I've gotten some doozies, as well, but the good to bad ration is generally in my favor.
I often wonder about the authors of those books that end up in the bargain section. Is that, like, the worst thing ever for an author's self esteem? Or do they know that there are people like me out there, just waiting to discover another gem from the bargain bin? I hope they know.
This book was one of those gems. It's called "The Bud Wilson Dream Book" and its written by Barbara Kramer. I've never heard of her. But the title of the book caught my attention. I'm so glad it did. I usually hesitate to use the words "charming" or "delightful" to describe anything. (In my head, those words are tinged with a negative connotation, somehow inferring a lack of depth) But this book truly was both delightful and charming. It made me smile. It made me sigh. It was a nice read.
The story revolves around a woman in her late 50's to early 60's who has unexpectedly lost her husband of 30 years. Shortly after his death, she starts having dreams about Bud Wilson. Bud Wilson is a late night talk show host, a Johnny Carson type character. He has been on TV forever. Everyone knows who he is. When anyone has insomnia, it is Bud Wilson who they tune it to to keep them company.
On a whim, she places an ad in a large number of small town newspapers, asking if anyone has had dreams about Bud Wilson. She asks the respondents to send their dreams to her. She has a vague idea that maybe she can use this information to write her master's thesis that she has put off writing for 20 some odd years. But really, she's just reaching out, in her grief, to anyone who may have something in common with her.
Before she knows it, she has over 600 responses to her add and her little project on a whim takes on a life of its own. She ends up meeting so many different people and changing in subtle ways all from this project.
It reminded me a lot of blogging. How something started on a whim can generate friendships with people you never really meet. One of the things that struck me is how the character in the book tried to keep her "project life" seperate from her "real life". How she often didn't want her real life friends to read the letters or to even know what she intended to do with them. How she felt like they wouldn't understand. And how protective of her "project friends" she was: "Why does he want to meddle with my letters. They're MINE. Those people wrote them to ME"
Blogging is kind of like that for me. I originally started it with the intention of sharing it with family and friends. I had been sending out a weekly email bloggy thing to my friends for a number of months. I figured the blog would be just a way to keep all those emails in one spot and anyone could go back and read one if they deleted it or something.
Then something else happened. I got protective of my blog. I felt like it was my space to post and things that maybe I didn't want everyone to read. Then I made friendships with other people out there in bloggy land whom I feel rather protective of. And for some reason, I like keeping real life and blog life seperate. Yeah, I still do the emails. And yeah, the emails and posts are sometimes one and the same. But they are distinctly seperate.
A lot to ponder from the reading of this book. But made me feel a bit connected at the same time. So if you want a cute read that'll make you smile and sigh and maybe even think a little, check out "The Bud Wilson Dream Book".