I read All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten when it was first published twenty years ago. This was a book filled with short essays about Robert Fulghum‘s dreams and wishes and what he would do if he could do anything. As it turned out, this little book was his key to doing anything he ever wanted to do-and I feel sure, any number of things he never thought he would get to do. He followed up that first success with a couple of other books filled with his essays, which were a little less profound, since he was living the dreams, instead of dreaming them. There is a subtle difference there. Between the wanting and the having. Maybe I am just a bit jealous, being stuck in the wanting phase for so long.
One of my favorite columnists was a fellow in Chicago named Mike Royko-he was very firm in his opinions and he was often very funny. He liked to have these imaginary dialogs with people, including the current President, as well as a small cast of friends he bounced his ideas off of. He was a very topical writer and his essays are sadly dated when I try to read them now. Robert Fulghum has a much more timeless quality, but he reminds a bit of Mike, in that I feel like I am talking to someone, rather than reading someone.
Robert Fulghum’s latest book is titled What On Earth Have I Done? and talks about the Great Mother Questions. Some of these essays are short, like blog post short. I am always shocked when I see ‘real’ writers who have blogs, shouldn’t you be making money with your words, instead of giving them away? But then, writers write, we don’t have any choice. Even the great Fulghum has a blog, though he chooses to call it a journal.
And so Robert Fulghum talks about his time in Seattle and what he sees as he walks the neighborhood and how he feels about forced bulbs in winter and crossing guards and cycling clothes made out of Lycra. It is good stuff and I enjoy spending time with Robert. Again I can’t help but be a bit jealous, as he spends a bit more of his time in Moab, Utah. Then he is off for another stretch in Crete, Greece. The subtle similarities of the places, besides our hero Robert being there, as problems with his houses, pests of one sort or another, and people that he enjoys spending time with. Robert loves people, and maybe that is why his books seem to touch so many of us.
Bloggers talk about their daily lives, as a general rule, the ups and downs, troubles and triumphs, what we have for lunch and how much we hate school/work/family or from time to time how much we love school/work/family. Robert Fulghum takes the mundane events of his life and transforms them somehow into meaning little parables for living the good life. He is a thoughtful writer who ponders on the deeper meaning of things that, at first glance, seem to have no deeper meaning.
Robert Fulghum doesn’t inspire me to write, he is one of those writers that makes me realize I am just spinning my wheels. What on Earth have I Done is a good read.