Do you hear that? Do you? That crunch, that rattling, those explosions–kind of sounds like a thousand books in 8 suitcases being transported from Houston to New York to Moscow to Bishkek to my ghetto-ass village and blowing my children’s minds! In no small part thanks to you guys, the Village Library Project is funded, the hard work completed, and the fun has begun.
I’m waiting to open it until our bookshelves are built, and my inner librarian will not be content until I have a Kyrgie Decimal System up and running in this bitch, but rest assured there will be a fancy ribbon-cutting ceremony and a communal reading of The Giving Tree and fifty kids screaming “THANKYOUVARYMACH” in a video made for your viewing pleasure. It’s all in the works. However, my kids have been anxious for the unveiling, and so today I had my very first Reading Club, featuring, as our first book, the beloved Eric Carle tome The Very Hungry Caterpillar. They fell in love instantly, a bunch of teenagers experiencing the awe of a four-year-old reading this book for the first time.
Remember the story? It’s pretty simple. The caterpillar is born in the moonlight, is super hungry, eats through a symphony of beautifully painted foodstuffs. On Saturday he eats a piece of chocolate cake (which my students obviously pronounced “chocolate cock”), one ice-cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, salami, a lollipop, cherry pie, a sausage, a cupcake, and a slice of watermelon. Then he has a stomachache, eats a green leaf to flush all that shit out, goes into a cocoon, and emerges as a butterfly.
Reading this I noticed that the Very Hungry Caterpillar probably embodies my life’s ethos better than any other “literary character.” Glut yourself to death and then go into an ascetic cocoon assuming that after you emerge something positive will have happened. Really, if you broaden the analogy farther than my six-year-running personal routine of bourbon overdoses leading to volunteer trips, the Very Hungry Caterpillar may be a great universal advocate for the hackneyed but lovely work-hard-play-hard way of life. Except I suppose he wasn’t so much working as sleeping in a cocoon, and also I guess he played rather than worked first, so maybe the message I really should be seeing here is “Eat so much that you fall asleep for two weeks and when you wake up you’ll be pretty.”