Earlier this month, I emailed a friend to ask if she had read several books that I had recently encountered. She is a professor of religion at a Midwestern university. I met her while doing an internship at the university library back when. I told her that I had found the new book by retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong to be rather strange, like champagne without the bubbles. I’ll include the email portions that relate to this incident. BARD is a website run by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, www.loc.gov/nls, that contains audio and braille books for the use of blind and print challenged readers.
Notice the order of the dates in the following two email extracts. It’s not a huge earth-shattering event, but it was rather startling.
From: Aimee *****
Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2018 9:18 PM
To: David F.
Subject: Re: John Shelby Spong
There are so many good books in theology and spirituality I can recommend to you. Are you able to get texts translated, if they are not already?
Bloom’s Courage to Pray
* Patricia Hampl, The Art of a Wasted Day (not directly about theology, but oh so very good and wise)
Sarah Coakley’s God, Sexuality, and Self: An Essay on the Trinity.
Those are just three to start with!
BTW, there have been layoffs at the university. Luckily, I am not in this round.
And on the BARD website not two days later:
July 6, 2018
The art of the wasted day DB90940
Hampl, Patricia. Reading time: 9 hours, 11 minutes.
Read by Patricia Hampl.
A memoirist tackles the topic of daydreaming. She looks at examples of those who spent their lives in quiet contemplation, such as Mendel and Montaigne. Remembering lazy days of childhood, she dedicates herself, now retired and widowed, to wasting her life in order to find it. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2018.
Wikipedia tells us that the concept of synchronicity was introduced by analytical psychologist Carl Jung. It describes two meaningful events that are not causally related. Jung used the concept to argue for the existence of the paranormal. I found it rather surprising that not two days after emailing about the Hampl book, it appeared on the BARD website which I use to access recorded and braille materials. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped or NLS records a percentage of all books published but it’s not a huge percentage. I was pleased to find this book in the collection so soon after hearing about it.
I plan to read it soon!
About the Author
David Faucheux is a lifelong resident of Louisiana and currently lives in Lafayette. He attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he obtained a B.A. in English and later a Master of Library and Information Science. He has worked as a braille instructor and medical transcriptionist. With the encouragement of a friend, he began an audioblog, which he maintained for several years. He continues as a reviewer of audiobooks for Library Journal. His hobbies include dining out, listening to music, and learning new trivia. You can find out more about David and his work at his website: David L. Faucheux.
A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile
Friends and family. Restaurants and recipes. Hobbies and history. TV programs the author loved when he could still see and music he enjoys. The schools he attended and the two degrees he attained. The career that eluded him and the physical problems that challenge him. And books, books, books: over 200 of them quoted from or reviewed. All in all, an astonishing work of erudition and remembrance.
Across Two Novembers was edited by Leonore H. Dvorkin.
Cover design by David Dvorkin.
If you have had a strange experience or encounter that you would like to share, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org (or my usual email if you already have it) and we can discuss a guest post.
I am not looking for sensationalism or fictional tales… but in light of the response to some recent posts, I think it would be both useful and reassuring to others to realise that none of us are alone in these strange encounters and experiences and perhaps we can open discussion on what they may be or may mean.
If you would like to share your story but prefer to remain anonymous, we can discuss that too. If you would like to share your beliefs and opinions on the nature of these experiences, I would be happy to talk about a guest post. Through sharing with respect we may learn to understand our world and each other a little better.
You can find previously published encounters with elusive realities here