Who says what?

Novelist, mother, minister, and yoga teacher muses on books, babies, motherhood, and what matters with reverent humor.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Joys of Mediocrity

Having just finished Mary Pipher's (of "Reviving Ophelia" fame) book "Seeking Peace," I can absolutely recommend it to make you feel better about the ordinary mediocrity of your own life and successes. And not to talk about you, but it sure made me feel better about me--or more than better, grateful and relieved that my first novel didn't bring me incredible wealth, an interview with Oprah, or a cross-country book trip with adoring fans throwing themselves at me.

Yes, riches and fame can be a very bad thing as Pipher points out. Can't recommend the book highly enough for that reason. There's nothing like been thankful for life as it is. Byron Katie teaches that when you don't get what you want, you ought to say: "I've been spared." We don't know from what--or sometimes we do. In either case, sometimes not getting what we imagined would be best is the true blessing.

And to hear it from Pipher, whose book is subtitled "Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World," wealth and celebrity suck. Better a small life. That's what we're enjoying here as the season changes, one green leaf becoming red at a time, the last tomatoes to pick, and the almost here-ness of baby number three, who won't bring me any money or fans (and who will probably make me very tired, right, even more tired than I am sleeping nine months pregnant), but who is still, and very much, what we here have wanted, some of us for a long time (me) and some of us only more recently converted to the idea of a "bigger" (I don't know when three kids become big, but it has) family (my very cool husband who swore he only wanted two until he changed his mind and decided out of love for me and the children we already have that I could have my bonus kid). In the end, I'd rather have children than fame, and when I think of the higher hopes I had for my novel, I get to remind myself where the real riches are without having to go through the trouble Mary Pipher dealt with to get there.

If you're at all feeling poor, in any way, the book may well make you feel richer and it's a quick, easy read.


  1. A good friend here has just gotten to week 14 with her first baby, and also just finished your book. I'm supposed to pass along her thanks and great enjoyment in it! She said she couldn't believe how many things you got "just right" - and especially loved the yoga teacher.

    Hooray for small things, that still make a big difference.

  2. Thank you, that's so nice to here. And I'm thinking of you and hoping you have a sweet New Year filled with good, small things.

  3. Thanks for the recommendation. I really enjoyed this book, especially her descriptions of the complicated love she felt for her parents.

  4. I wonder what love isn't complicated, sometimes!