Friday, June 27, 2008

The Phantom Tollbooth

Milo was a discontent boy. Wherever he was, he wished he were somewhere else. Whenever he had something to do, he wanted to do something else. One day he came home to discover a wonderful gift that sent him on a journey of discovery. On this trip he learned a lot of things, but perhaps the most important thing was that he learned to enjoy life. He quit being discontent, but good money says he didn’t quit being restless.
The funny thing is that Norton Juster, the man who wrote this story and created such characters as “The Terrible Trivium” (a demon who distracts people with trivial tasks when they should be doing important things) actually wrote it when he was sick of writing a real book and simply needed a break. He indicated that often the most important things people accomplish are the things that they do when they should be doing something else.
The wordplay and insight throughout this book is simply wonderful. It is one of those rare books that should be included on the list of books that everyone should read at least twice: once as a child for the pure joy of it, and then again as an adult to really benefit from it. If you missed the chance to read it as a kid, don’t forgo the opportunity now. Better yet, read it to a kid.
After that, set aside some regular time to blow everything off and get out you door simply to take things in. Are there things where you live that people come from all over the world to see, and you haven’t because you live there? Where is the best spot in your town to see the sunset? What planets are visible in the night sky right now?

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