As I prepare to move across the country, I’m carefully weighing what I have and how much space it needs. And, I’m being reminded by my friends anytime I want to buy something that it needs to fit in my car for the 13-hour drive home to Pittsburgh.

I can’t help but think of my belongings as the characters do in The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. In the beginning of the book, O’Brien describes the few personal items a group of soldiers carry in their packs, and each item has an assigned weight, literally and emotionally, that needs to be carried on the back.

I don’t need mementos; I’m not fighting a war; and in fact, I’m headed home rather than being assigned/stationed away. Yet, I feel a connection to those characters (and always have, since I read it a dozen years ago).

Sometimes I take a good look at my present and try to imagine how I’ll feel, who I’ll be, or what I’ll be doing years from now. Sage as I am, I never have any clue. But it’s fun to imagine. Many times, though, I look back and never cease to amaze myself how something I read or saw from afar years ago suddenly has relevance to me today.

Add Tim O’Brien to your reading list. He’s a memorable writer.


And add my book, Upside Down Kingdom, when you get the chance ‘cause it’s the original and I’m not stopping.