The Wishing Year.
During my Mondo Beyondo course at the beginning of 2010, one of the lessons was to listen to an interview of Noelle Oxenhandler by Jen Lemen. Oxenhandler answered questions about her book, The Wishing Year, and a few months later, I found it in a bookstore and couldn’t shake the feeling I should buy it.
The Wishing Year is another addition to the new “A Year of (Insert Project/Journey/Country)” genre that has sprung up- and in my view, that’s not a knock given that I like to make projects and am slightly obsessed with order. I’m a Virgo and won’t apologize for it. But in The Wishing Year, I found the months-as-chapters to be much more natural breaks than I’ve found in other books, and the flow to be nearly uninterrupted.
As a recently divorced and displaced Buddhist, Oxenhandler makes three wishes at the beginning of the year for a house, a man, and spiritual healing. Throughout this year, Oxenhandler muses on mentors in her life and the idea that wishing might not be a selfish act or one deserving of guilt- an idea I myself am trying to come to terms with as well. Her writing is beautiful, insightful and challenging, and will appeal to readers who are looking the authentic and organic in a book. I don’t think that one necessarily has to be a believer in the act of wishing to get a lot out of this book, in the same way that I don’t think a reader needs to be Buddhist to gain interesting knowledge as well.
I loved Oxenhandler’s voice and wish I could read more of her work (outside of her book for adult children of divorce). I found this book to be a deeply calming read, and one I’ll probably be rereading soon as well. After all, who’s to say a wishing year can’t start with the spring rather than in January?