I am not a monthly regular. In fact, I've only posted one other time on this blog (and to be honest, I couldn't even tell you in which month that was). I am a Fifth-Weeker. As a FW, it is my job to take a slight burden off the regulars shoulders, ensuring that none of them be required to post more than once in a month. This has both advantages and disadvantages. First, I don't have to worry about posting until the email siren sings her special song warning me that a Fifth Week is coming up. Second, because I don't post regularly, I come up with ideas that don't necessarily fit into the rest of the month's posts. Case in point: the post you're about to devour. You shan't be reading a post about which book in the canon "isn't for me," instead you shall be reading some of my own thoughts. Enjoy.
I just recently finished the book, Brother One Cell by Cullen Thomas (I highly recommend it to all those who like autobiographical glimpses into an "unknown's" life. Note: it does contain some language, mostly because it is written about a man's stint in prison). It depicts Cullen Thomas' life in the mid-90s living in South Korea. Long story short, having just graduated from college, he goes to South Korea to teach English. In his youthful stupidity, he tries to bring some drugs into the country, gets caught and spends three and a half years in a South Korean prison. When he is released, he realizes that he is a completely different person than the one who entered the prison gates--he has experienced a lifetime of memories and has "come of age."
While reading this memoir, I couldn't help but identify with Cullen (I call him Cullen because I feel like we're on a first-name basis). He examines a relatively small portion of his life, retelling quite plainly the events that took place. He seemingly stumbles into situations that will ultimately change his life forever. While his trip to South Korea, as a whole, was intentional, the amount of change that took place while there was completely unforeseen.
I want to write a book. I have so many ideas, it's ridiculous. But one of them that is quite near the top of the list is a memoir of my time in Uganda, East Africa. I spent three months, living among the nationals, helping the missionaries, and "coming of age." I went there with plenty of good intentions, but I left there with so much more than I ever imagined. Maybe that's why I identified with Cullen so much. Our stories are slightly (very slightly) similar. I've always wanted to record my memories of Africa. I kept a very detailed journal while over there, and I have often pulled it out and read it. Still today, I am realizing ways in which I was affected while there. It's been five years since I returned and I think it's time. I think I finally understand enough of what happened to accurately convey it to others. Cullen helped me. While reading his story, I understood that the most mundane of events can actually have meaning. He wrote so simply--and yet he was so profound. Maybe, just maybe I can be profound to someone too.