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Coffee with Mimi: In perspective, lots of time, many possibilities

By MIMI BECKER

Community columnist

Perspective is all in how you look at it and want to see it. (Source: me)

The way I see it, considering genetics, I have about 30 years left in me. That means I have only lived a bit more than two thirds of my life. 

Sure, I could keel over tomorrow. But, what if I don’t? Both my grandfathers lived well into their ‘90’s. They were pretty active through it all, just slowing down not long before their final days. Both did retire from a “work” mode at a fairly typical age leaving them years to choose what to do.

What am I going to do with these 30 or so years? Do I really need to decide right now? I might need to.

I have always thought about writing a book.

I read quite a bit. I know what I enjoy reading and as the books I read have obviously been published, other people like what I like, too. So, I may have narrowed my possible market. 

I do want others to read my book. I prefer to hold the books I read and turn the real pages. I know this is old fashioned, but plenty other people seem to enjoy this real, not virtual, book format, as well. Clearly, others are willing to pay for books in any published format, though I personally prefer hard cover versions.

A year or so ago, I admitted to being a book hoarder. I had accumulated a stash of reading material which could hold me for years to come. I would never need to leave the house to acquire reading material until my dying days, even considering my actuarial chart calculations. The public library is just about my favorite place on earth. I check out books as if I have no other access to good things to read. 

My stash turned out to be a good investment as it saw me through the recent absence of public library access with plenty to spare for the future.

And yet, I continue to acquire books. 

I watch the news and every person who is interviewed is releasing a new book. Seems they spent their lockdown days doing more than reading. Furthermore, every book appears to be on the bestseller list well before it is available to me and my Amazon account.

So, what would I write about? If I follow my interests, I would write a history, or a piece of historical fiction, ranging through the 20th century. It would likely feature a strong, central person, preferably a woman. 

A group of women would be interesting, as well. I don’t particularly need to delve into an overtly consequential life altering topic of study. My subjects don’t have to be on a quest to solve climate change or curing cancer or winning a Nobel Prize in economics.

I’m looking for an engaging story. But, that’s as far as I’ve gotten, so I keep reading.

At the moment I am deep into a book of tremendous weight, literally. My husband often says I buy books by the pound. He isn’t too far off, but not for the page count to dollar value. 

I like to get into a topic and spend some time getting to know what’s in it, and why. My current read was lent by a friend. It will be a while before it is returned. Thankfully, she has already read the story, and not likely to need it back soon.

The book is 1,176 pages long. This is not a large print book. I did a calculation of the average number of words on an average page, multiplied that number by 1,176 and the result was 625,000 words, give or take. 

This author put together 625,000 words in a story which has me running home from other activities to pick it up and read. The first few days were really difficult as the imbalance in the number of pages read and turned to the left side and the unread pages on the right side was so great, it was near impossible to hold it comfortably.

It’s better now. However, I like to have a book handy when I am out and about in case I have to wait for an appointment, or need to pass time between activities. This book is not conducive to tossing in my bag for casual moments. If I fall asleep reading at night, no, I won’t; the mass of the book falling to my lap would jar any person awake.

This book may challenge my ambition to write.

Earlier this summer I read a history of the Plateau region of France during World War II. I thought, you know, I could write something like that. Well researched, smooth transitions, nice readable collection of factual incidents and people. I can see the possibilities.

I am only 250 pages into 1,176 in this story. This author completed this book at the age of 86. It’s a good thing I have a few years left in me. I’ve got time, both to finish this one and to consider one of my own.