“What I really want,” said Harper Lee, ” is a book about how to be a
Jedi. I want it to be part science and part story because that’s what
I love. I want to know how to make a light saber and fight bad guys.”
This obsession with Star Wars is just one of Harper’s many passions.
She loves the story, the characters, the music and anything that has
anything to do with the film. She pretends to be a Jedi knight, and
she dreams about space and life on different planets.
I completely understand this obsession with film. As a kid, I also
was thoroughly entranced by a movie. My movie was Gone With the Wind,
and my obsessive behavior carried over into just about any film made
prior to 1965. I ate, slept, and breathed old movies. If Trivial
Pursuit could be won on pink pie squares alone, I would have been
unbeatable. My obsession actually verged on the unnatural and
slightly worrisome, but I eventually outgrew it, and I picked up other
passions along the way.
Running, of course, has now taken the place of David O. Selznicks’
greatest cinematic achievement. It’s something I love. I think about
it daily, I plan my day around it, I base my diet and my sleep
patterns around it, and I even pay money to do it. It is a fairly
commonplace thing in my life and in the life of my family, and I
surround myself with people who are equally, if not more, obsessed
with running than I am. However, I know that many people just don’t
get it, and I completely understand that sentiment. Running and
runners are bizarre. We go outside in the rain willingly and
sometimes happily, we pee in public, we put creams and Band-aids in
places many people don’t even want to acknowledge as part of their
body, and we choose to be in pain. What’s up with that? I could try
to explain it, but that would probably only make me sound crazier than
you already suspect me to be, so I guess I have to blame it on
I was listening to a podcast called The Dirtbag Diaries the other day,
and the featured writer was talking about his obsession, rock
climbing. In it, he describes a non-climber’s reaction to the news of
a world-famous climber’s death after a fall. She questioned the guy’s
sanity and intimated that perhaps he got what he deserved for being so
foolish to begin with. The writer, of course, was incensed and
unleashed a verbal assault on this woman who he saw as completely
without passion. And that’s the difference, I think. While my
passion has little to do with scaling rock faces hundreds of feet
above a rocky canyon floor, I get what drives those who choose this
form of recreation. It is a passion, something that excites them deep
down and makes them feel alive and as though they have a purpose.
That’s a wonderful gift.
To live life with passion, whether it’s running or climbing or
knitting or studying to become a Jedi knight, all we really need, as
Charles Kingsley said, “is something to be enthusiastic about.”
That’s why I’ve been online looking for guides to becoming a Jedi. I
want to encourage that passion, that drive to be something better, to
do something better. Her passions will vary through the years, but as
long as they remain, that’s all that matters to me.