I just read The Little Prince.
I honestly never heard of the book until halfway through my undergrad studies at the University of Iowa. My sister had her twenty-first birthday party themed as The Little Prince, and everybody was to come dressed as a character. Not knowing any of the characters, I skimmed briskly through the book, and made up some character that I was supposed to be, having no idea who I really was (read into that what you will). But even as I skimmed through the book, pondering every picture for ideas, it seemed like something I should read.
When I checked it out from the public library, the librarian smiled at me as she scanned it to my card.
But I didn’t read it. And soon enough, I returned it.
Time passed, and while my sister talked of the book (and later dressed as the fox for Halloween), the book stayed on my ‘to read’ list, right below a pile of schoolbooks and film books where it never budged under the weight.
Eventually I moved to Colorado where I wanted to read gritty books – Catcher in the Rye, The Shootist, and Stop-Time. I read autobiographies of western actors in early Hollywood, books on the real west, and what I could find on severe weather and geology (favorite subjects of mine).
Then I attended the National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, and saw a short workshop trial for a production of The Little Prince on the east coast. I was unfamiliar with the story (beyond looking at all the pictures), but I wanted to read the book again, and so it inched its way up on my list.
Then I got accepted and went to Chapman University for my graduate studies. The sheer weight of the books I felt I needed to read, and the projects I needed to finish, drowned out any thought of a non-film book. But I got some weekend work on a puppet project, and one of the talented puppeteers had just been cast as The Little Prince in the final production of the trial I saw that past summer.
I ordered the book soon after, and three-to-five business days later came an old bent-up copy with used sticker markings and dirty fingerprints all around it. It had a life of its own. But as I bragged about finaly making the purchase, I learned my haste had stepped on another copy just for me. Fresh, new, and special (as any gift is more special than the same item you buy for yourself).
A belated Christmas present, I got the book earlier this month, from that productions’ Little Prince herself. And so I read it in two parts. The first half I read nestled in the warm sand on a hot January day (they have those in southern California), and finished it most appropriately on a train, with a half-guessed destination and a thoughtful journey to go with mine.
And I loved the book. I knew I would.
It’s funny. Sometimes you know that a book, or movie, or event will be wonderful. It will touch you in some way. It may not always effect you exactly the way you thought it would, but it will nonetheless, and you will not regret it. This most often works for existing material, of course. Tried and true stuff that you’ve been effected with through others already – as those seeds have already been planted, and you just need to experience it to them to bloom.
And so it was, and did.