Monday, January 10, 2011

When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put by Vivian Swift

So here's this little gem of a memoir that I stumbled upon at a sale at my local bookstore.  It turns the concept of the traditional chronological memoir on its head by offering a kind of kaleidoscope of memories from the writer's past traveling life and her present staying put life.

She observes the seasons of her life month my month and each month she offers a wide array of watercolor paintings of her world plus observations about her town and her present life but then she writes what she calls micro-memoirs about her years of travel:  birthday memories, husbands and fiances, adventures in exotic locations, danger while traveling.

Each month is loosely thematic like March is tea month and November is good-bye month.  The whole book read like a poem.  It was peppered with quotes and ticket stubs and cats and odd people she met. I loved the drawing of the dozens of odd lost mittens that she had found in her town.

It conveyed warmth and sentimentality and a life really well lived.  It is possible to write an interesting memoir if you have a regular life and don't star in a movie or have some terrible disease.

This book reads quickly and it becomes a kind of almanac:  a book I could leave on my bed table and refer to again and again.  For this reason it is not a great book to check out of the library.  It is charming and worthy of an afternoon and a cup of tea especially if you are looking for ideas and inspiration and another way of telling a true story.

1 comment:

Steph said...

I am LOVING this book! This week is crazy for me (conference I am supporting), and so I am saving the finishing of this as a reward for next week!