Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Today is day three of the new year - Happy New Year. And, no, it's not too late for those of you who are procrastinators out there to make a new year resolution. This is not to shame you into making a resolution. Instead, I am going to offer a gentle persuasion; one that is far more palpable than working out at the gym five days a week for the first week, only to drop off to nothing by the time Super Bowl Sunday rolls around. And I am not going to suggest that you drink three quarts of H2O a day, although everyone knows it's good for you and does wonders for your skin.

No, I am going to make a recommendation for a good read. This is not the type of book that you should sit and read in one sitting - although you certainly could because it is a scant one hundred pages or so. This book is meant to be savored, and contemplated; picked up and put down, mulled over and EVEN dog-eared. I never ever proffer such advice, but there will be words and lines and pages that will haunt you and call you back to revisit.

The Little Prince, written by Antoine de Saint Exupery and translated by Katherine Woods, is an autobiographical fable of a pilot who was told by his parents to put down his beloved paint sets and to make something of himself. That he did, as Exupery was both a pilot and writer of books on aviation.

In The Little Prince, the pilot - Exupery crashes his plane in the middle of the desolate Sahara desert. While working on piecing it together, he hears a small child's voice cry out, "If you please, draw me a sheep!" The astounded pilot turns to find a young boy with blond curls, prince of a distant asteroid, B-612.

Says the author, "I should have liked to begin this story in the fashion of fairy-tales ... 'Once upon a time there was a little prince who lived on a planet that was scarcely bigger than himself who had need of a sheep...' To those who understand life, that would have given a much greater air of truth to my story."

Understanding life is what it's all about; for the pilot, the little prince, and us - the reader. The Little Prince had lived happily alone on his small planet until the wind planted for him a new seed, from which sprang the loveliest flower he had seen. The prince lavished his love and affection upon the flower, which in turn tormented him with her vanity and pride, and caused him to abandon his safe planet and venture out into the galaxy in search of the truth - the secret of what is truly important in life.

All is not lost for the Little Prince or the pilot. For once again, to quote William Wordsworth, "the child is father of the man."

Because of the simplicity of the drawings by Exupery and the slimness of the book, brick and mortar stores will oftentimes place this book in the children's section.

The Little Prince? A fit for kidz of any age.