The late Charles “Tremendous” Jones said: “Five years from now, you will be the same person you are today…except for the books you read and the people you meet.” How that speaks to me! I love books—and I love meeting people and hearing their stories.
The three books I’m reading currently…yes, I said three….are S is for Story, a picture book by Esther Hershenhorn, with colorful, character-filled illustrations by Zachary Pullen; An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick; and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Books definitely influence and broaden my life. Next to the Holy Bible, probably How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie made the greatest change in my attitude. Ironically, that Carnegie book rested on my bookshelf for years until I felt a need to pick it up. Its words impacted me. Since that time, I’ve had numerous books by Max Lucado, Eugenia Price, Beth Moore, Marjorie Holmes, Francine Rivers, and Andy Andrews – to name a few of my favorite authors – give me food for thought.
But back to the books I’m now reading. Jane Kirkpatrick writes historical fiction. An Absence So Great is the second book in her latest series, Portraits of the Heart. She tells the story of her grandmother, Jessie Ann Gaebele, who had the courage to make a career as a photographer in the early 1900s… truly a challenge for a woman in 1910.
Unbroken is giving me a vivid picture of what men endured to protect our freedoms during WWII. Although I respected our veterans, Hillenbrand’s descriptions, taken from diaries and documents, gives me a renewed admiration and gratitude for the men and their families who served our country. I am changed by that book. However, some scenes are too heartbreaking and I had to lay it aside for a bit.
S is for Story, a book that youngsters can understand, yet appealing to adults, provides practical tips for good writing. Although I’ve previously learned the content over and over, the fanciful book provides reminders for creating good stories.
As for people, I could fill several blogs with those I met just in the past week at the Workamper Rendezvous in Heber Springs. About 170 enthusiastic RVers converged on our small mountain town, gung-ho to learn how to combine work and travel. I had the privilege of presenting a slide show titled: “Faces and Places in the Workamping Lifestyle,” a collection of the many folks I’ve met since I began writing for Workamper News in 1987. Their faces and stories have already filled two books: Road Work: The Ultimate RVing Adventure (sold out) and Road Work II: The RVers Ultimate Income Resource Guide. One woman at the Rendezvous made every word I’ve written and every slide my husband, Lee Smith, entered into a program totally worthwhile. She approached me following our presentation, took my hand and said, “You are the reason we are where we are today (meaning in the Workamping lifestyle). I bought your book and it has been my bible for the last several years.” Her words humbled me, yet increased my resolve to keep on meeting people and putting their stories into books to change and inspire other lives.
Books and people—two enriching factors in my life. Steve Anderson, Director of Possbilities at Workamper News, added to that quote: “Five years from now, you will be the same person you are today…except for the books you read and the people you meet…and the Workamping experiences you encounter.” I can agree with his statement. Workamping has altered my life…and I hope will again in the next five years.
Traveling in their motorhome several months each year, Arline and her photographer husband, Lee Smith, make their permanent home in Heber Springs, Arkansas. She currently is a presenter for Workamper Rendezvous, sponsored by Workamper News. Arline has dozens of magazine articles published, as well as five books: “Road Work: The Ultimate RVing Adventure” (now available on Kindle); “Road Work II: The RVer’s Ultimate Income Resource Guide”; “Truly Zula; When Heads & Hearts Collide”; and “The Heart of Branson”, a history of the families who started the entertainment town and those who sustain it today. Visit Arline’s personal blog at ArlineChandler.Blogspot.com