Thursday, October 26, 2006

Turning my frown upside down

As some of you may have noticed yesterday, I've had a bit of a tough week (thanks for your awesome words of support in response to my guys rock!) I'm delighted to report that my head is back in the land of "life is good/I'm happy to be here" thanks in no small part to a priority mail envelope that I found on my doorstep last night when I got home.

The envelope contained my long-awaited copy of Nancy French's book, RED STATE OF MIND: HOW THE CATFISH QUEEN REJECT BECAME A LIBERTY BELL, the contents of which turned my mood around by page two (You know the little disclaimers non-fiction books all have now, a few tiny lines at the top of the copyright page explaining how some names have been changed? Well Nancy's disclaimer had me laughing so hard I raced ahead to the Table of Contents to see what other gems this book might hold.)

That said, I have to acknowledge the elephant in the living room: In this book, Nancy discusses politics. Nancy is a Republican, which means Nancy discusses Republican politics. I am a lifelong Blue Stater (I never gave up my Maine license the entire eight years I lived south of New England) who was admittedly less than ecstatic at the result of the last two elections (at one point I drove down the street in tears, asking, "Really God, how can you possibly be against universal healthcare???") so I waded into RED STATE with a bit of trepidation.

Let me say this now: regardless of your political/social/spiritual stance, this book is SOOOO good - not just from a humor perspective, but also in terms of depth, warmth, and overall "wow I'm glad I read this"-ness. I loved it.

Remember my post earlier this week about how we're all too careful in our social conversations, relying on standby questions about work and lawn care strategies no one really cares about rather than sharing what matters? Well, in RED STATE, Nancy shares what matters. It's filled with things you don't typically hear at a cocktail party, which makes me want to put her on every guest list I make from this point on. I don't know if I agree with her take on the use of our military, but her story about how the chance to enlist changed the entire trajectory of her father's life brought tears to my eyes, and helped me "get" her patriotism in a way that makes my world a better place. I LOVED her passages about the effort she and her new Blue friends put into their budding friendships, and her honest thoughts on how hard it is to feel like you've landed on a planet where you just don't belong. That she managed to cover all this territory and still keep me laughing after my day from - as some Red Staters might put it - "H-E-double hockey sticks" was a nice little miracle, right there in my grateful hands.

There's an old point of etiquette that says that the two things one should never talk about in polite company are politics and religion. Nancy talks about both, which makes me realize she's my kind of girl. When I first put my website together, I called Nancy my favorite Republican, and she's defended her title well with this book.

So there you have it. I am grateful to God, the U.S. Postal Service, Nancy French, and my beloved blogging friends for pulling me through yesterday's funk. Thanks ya'll :)


Trish said...

I think humor is the key to everything. If we can't laugh at ourselves or find the humor in "serious" things like politics and religion then we all just need to lighten up.

Sounds like my kind of book.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you've had a such a bad week :(

Yay for new books, though! It sounds great. I'll have to move it higher on my to-read list (I haven't actually purchased it yet, but I mean to).

LEstes65 said...

Hmmm...I might have to pick that up. Because I'm a Blue Stater transplanted into one of the biggest Red States. Try LIVING here, my dear. It's a daily lesson in grace (ie - how God teaches me to shut the H-E-double-hockey sticks up). It's also a daily lesson in finding good people that come in all state colors.

Love you L&T Lady!

Swishy said...

Yay! I'm glad today was better.

I'm hearing great stuff about Nancy's book ... I'll definitely have to check it out.

Bill said...
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kim said...

I'm in a very political frame of mind this week -- may have to pick this up.
Mainly I wonder why it is so hard for people to have a political conversation when it's so important to do so -- one that goes beyond rhetoric and involves critical thinking, true conversation with everyone able to agree to disagree if need be -- but to help each other pay attention and think about what's going on in the world.

Some of my very best friends are republican and we have been able to talk politics without fighting. I still don't get it, but it's nice to dialouge and try to understand the thinking.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

What a recommendation! Sounds like it really boosted your spirits, and it's now totally piqued my interest.