A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1980) has to be one of my all time favourite reads. I was introduced to its genius by my glorious friend Mat. Mat himself is an entire blog post, and one I plan to write shortly. In fact, A Confederacy of Dunces is probably also an entire blog in itself as well.
In 2010, while on holiday, Mat gave me A Confederacy of Dunces to read after I had finished my own travel book. I then proceeded to devour it and, short of meals and sleep, didn’t put it down until I was finished. I can’t remember laughing out loud so much while reading a book before. All of Mat’s previous quotes from the book made sense now. Since 2010, I have read the book at least once a year. There was a brief period when I lost my well-thumbed copy in a flooding incident and was without one. I have since bought myself a replacement and am well on my way to creasing up the spine and folding the top corner of all the pages over – Yes, I fold pages over to mark my place when reading. Love me or hate me.
Every time I read this book, I find new details that capture my attention, or I remember old favourites. So in my recent foray into Ignatius J. Reilly’s mad capped world, I read again John’s description of Ignatius’ physicality – it starts on the first page – and I was bowled away by Ignatius’ reasoning that his outfit was “acceptable by any theological and geometrical standards, however abstruse, and suggested a rich inner life.” When I read “a rich inner life,” I laughed. Ignatius, as a protagonist, I hilarious. Suggesting that what he wore and what he looked like was some kind of sign of a deep mind made me laugh out loud – again. This time though I wrote down “a rich inner life” in a notebook and giggled.
Fast forward a few months and life has gone crazy. I made promises to myself that 2017 would be different from the crap year that 2016 turned out to be. And yet I was finding myself not in a better place. Out of the blue, a friend got in contact. We hadn’t really seen each other in a long time, and a coffee catch up was suggested. As we got talking, I found myself mentally shifting. I realised that I had been putting all these roadblocks in place, and this one conversation was highlighting that I really needed to take action. I needed to focus on me, my thoughts, and consciously getting into a good head space. I had been wanting things to change and to be a certain way, yet I had been focusing on the negative. With that mindset, how could I expect things to actually change for the better? I starting thinking that I needed to focus on my goals. Consider hopes and dreams and work out exactly what I wanted. I’m so good at planning and organising my work life and even my cupboards, but I was letting me down. I starting thinking about ways to calm my mind so I could focus. I started thinking about meditation, something I’d always scoffed at before. I started thinking about my health, something that had turned sour in 2016. I started thinking about healthy foods, focusing on eating food as medicine and not just as a last-minute consideration when I haven’t eaten all day. And I started thinking about putting my crazy busy thoughts down, maybe putting together a blog.
When I finally started to write this blog that had been rattling around in my head, I needed a name. I opened my long forgotten notebook, thinking I’d start brainstorming ideas, but the book had opened on a page that I had already written a note on. It read “a rich inner life.” That was an aha! moment for me. Of course, when I wrote it, I was thinking that Ignatius really had no clue, and man that made me laugh. But now when I read it, I thought wow, this encapsulates everything that I’ve realised that I need to focus on.
So that is the creation story of A Rich Inner Life. I realise that this might mean many different things to many different people, but that is actually perfect. I plan to add more blogs about this topic as I find my feet. So please join me on my journey to make my inner life all the more healthy, wholesome and richer.