Posted in Book Reviews, Creativity, Relationships, Writing

A Book that Saved My Week! #LLAFF

Caribbean fruit fly (female)
Caribbean fruit fly (female) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t even remember how exactly we got connected, but Gabe Berman and I became Twitter followers of each other.  I tend to be in awe of people who actually put themselves out there…you know, in print for the whole world to “see!”  So, I saw this hashtag #LLAFF and got a little curious.  I did a search on the hashtag and found others thanking Gabe for sharing his wisdom in his book “Live Like a Fruit Fly.”  I couldn’t hold off any longer, I had to have it.  Last Friday night I ordered the book from and anxiously began my wait.

I received the book Monday evening and read the first few pages.  I read a little more on Tuesday…just enough to get me hooked.  By Wednesday I wanted to immerse myself but reality does hold priority.  Somehow between work and class I managed to squeeze in a few more pages.  Thursday, I had to meet an insurance guy at my rental property so I used the time waiting for him to show up to read more.  Tonight…I finished the book!

So my review is going to be more like a conversation I would have if Gabe were sitting across from me at Starbucks!  As I was reading the book, I took notes, wrote down questions, and reflections about his message.  Like I said in a tweet this evening…at times, I wanted to cry or give him a hug.  Other times, I felt like he is a “brother by choice” who was giving me an encouraging pat on the back to just go ahead and take those steps toward achieving my goal of becoming a writer.

So…here goes:

I love how you speak of “your destiny” as this virtual version of yourself that’s hanging out (like Jiminy Cricket) to consult with you, give you strength, a boost, confidence to make the best choice for yourself.

This particular quote of yours is one I’ll write on a pieces of paper to tape up on my mirror, in my car, and monitor at work:

“Keep your eyes, ears, and soul open.  Follow all leads.  Your destiny is closer than you think.” Gabe Berman

I love the story of your meeting the woman in the cafe!  Your insistent and ever present destiny telling you to get her business card and follow through with her invitation to send her some of your writing–eventually landing you the job at the Miami Herald!

Your breadcrumb concept is very meaty!  For me, having that mental association/description was affirming/reassuring.  I’ve been doing that same thing for years without having an understanding of why I do it.  For me, staying just a little bit longer here, or there…being “okay” with being lost or a little off my journey, or reading/listening to certain conversations, television shows, or demonstrations in a mall, collecting certain bits of information/facts, etc…may have seemed random or pointless (and annoying) to some.  But now I know that I’ve been “collecting breadcrumbs!”

I appreciate how you placed inspirational quotes at the end of each chapter…like this one from William Jennings Bryan “Destiny is no matter of chance.  It is a matter of choice:  It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

Thanks for verbalizing the steps to practicing the art of Active Appreciation!

The irony you described of switching through channels during 9/11 and seeing the Purple Dinosaur (Barney Show) captured well the feelings that hits me at times when I have experienced heart-stopping grief.  When death visits your circle of influence…it is so irritating how the rest of the world keeps right on spinning/moving/talking/carrying on as if “NOTHING” has happened!  Of course it is unavoidable and perfectly rational…but the part of me that’s connected to everyone and everything else just cries out in a silenced scream that begs the world to stop long enough to give two seconds to recognize that a presence among us has ceased to be animated in this time space.  To honor their participation in the dance of life.

I too loved the March of the Penguins movie!  When it finished, a profound sacred silence inhabited my soul…made me want to weep!  My mind raced to find an explanation why no matter how long I have lived, have I not discovered the steadfast devotion and focused purpose towards and between our kind in human society.  That movie shook my soul more intimately than sitting in a church for a year of Sundays ever could.

For those who haven’t read Gabe Berman’s book “Live Like a Fruit Fly” I won’t spoil it for you and reveal any more.  Hopefully this entry will give you enough interest and motivation to click the hyperlinked book title above and purchase your own copy.  Trust me, if you take the leap…like the writings of Kahlil Gibran, this will be a book you reference time and again.  It is written for our time, is sprinkled with Star Wars anecdotes, and is a mental comfort…. truly a pleasure and  joy to read.

Because of the last couple of weeks personal and professional challenges, this book came at the right time and saved me from sliding into a gray funk.  I hope you enjoy reading it and find it just as soul-quenching as I did.  Gabe is an interactive and engaging writer who is as approachable as his book makes him seem.  Go ahead, start following him on Twitter @GabeBerman  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention ladies….as of the publishing of this book…I think he is still an eligible bachelor!

Notes for Gabe:

You have a great friend in Rich!

Do you still tend bar?

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Because of You…

Reflecting on the meaning of the life of my Grandmother
I realize that every person in our lives provides meaning
Adds value and context to our existence
Helps define your place in the world

Mentally walk with me a moment
Strawberries, Bananas, Christmas Trees, Fresh Cut Grass
If you pop a pistachio nut or a peppermint into your mouth…
You name the sensory stimulus (a song, a flavor, a smell)
These scents and flavors immediately transport you
To a specific place and time

People, I realize do the same for me
When someone comes to visit you that you haven’t seen in a while
Or that certain someone stops by the office or calls out of the blue
That expression, their eyes, voice, smile, their walk or laugh
Fill out and remind, reassure, and reaffirm the meaning of
your relationship with them and their purpose or value to you

Some people’s voices are like a hug, a rush of excitement
Or bring to you that warm comforting familiarity
Remind you that there are more ways to live life
Bring a sense of reassurance that everything’s going to be just fine
So to each of you who have played a part, entered stage right into my life
Thanks, to all of you, for adding context, providing meaning
For being…!