Monday, March 21, 2005

The Teenage Survival Manual

From the diary: “April 28, 1981

“Last night I started writing another Oz story (A Tale of Oz). I was inspired after reading The Teenage Survival Manual. Dad sent it to us because it echoes some of his philosophies.”

Dad was a big one for philosophies. I remember the cover of the Manual, blue with a swirl of stars. I remember thinking it would give me some secret, some Dad secret. I went through many a self-help book over the years. It’s not that compendia of advice don’t contain helpful advice, but being able to push forth and do is far more important than the excellence of the advice. Yes, the first requirement is to have that assertive personality. Which I didn’t much have. And an ability to shrug off failure. If I had this ability it was withered and virtually paralyzed. Different now?

Dad, by the way, did not live with us. Growing up, though there were phone calls and letters, I only saw him at most twice a year. So he was more than usually mysterious, as fathers go.

2 comments:

David Lee said...

The book I remember Dad giving me was, well, The Book by Alan Watts. It sat on the shelf for at least a year before I read it. I was really quite surprised to both enjoy it and to find it useful. Dad was a great one for giving advice that I didn't think I had any use for.

I can't remember any specifics of the book now. I'm sure I'll come across it as I pack the library. (I got another copy a few years ago, more as a talisman than because I felt a need to reread it.)

Glenn Ingersoll said...

I remember Alan Watts' The Book. How dare anybody name a book so generically?

Did I ever read it? I know I looked at it several times and read snatches, but I don't really remember reading it. I read Kent's copy of Alan Watt's Tao: the Watercourse Way and was not as thrilled as Kent thought I ought to be.