Friday, October 5, 2007

A House Without Windows


Once again, the essential words are on al.com, with more photos here.

When I was young I found a book called "A House Without Windows" by Barbara Newhall Follet. It's about a girl who chooses to live in nature and eventually transcends to a higher being. It was written when Barbara was 9, and rewritten at 12 after the manuscript was destroyed in a house fire. In her twenties, she walked out the door of her home, never to return. Touching and disturbing, but somehow fascinating.

Haven't you been tempted to just walk away? I have been, sometimes drawn by the natural world, sometimes craving a simpler life. What I have discovered this year is that, just walking away from the status quo, life never gets simpler. Better in some aspects, but not less complex. And quantum physics and other new sciences show that even in nature, randomness and chaos are needed to create order which then dissolves again in a complicated, beautiful ying-yang relationship. The secret to sanity is to accept the chaos, to continuously adapt to the change and embrace it. For me, the tempting horizon is now the Random School instead of the antelope trails of the Great Plains. Let's use music to create order from the chaos and pain being human engenders.

14 comments:

asakiyume said...

You're the only person in the whole wide world I've ever met who has read this book. I read it when I was 12, and loved it so much I searched to find a copy of it, and then found out the story of her having written it at 9 and then revising it at 12.

I guess there must be other people who have read it, as the edition I read, so many years ago, was a paperback, but still it feels rare and special to find someone who has.

Jeane Goforth said...

I am glad to meet another fan of this book. It is very special. To think years later it still is in my mind quite often...Wonder what the author would have become?

asakiyume said...

I know; I wish I could have known her--though she was way before our times....She'd be in her what? 90s or so now, if she were still active among us.

Anonymous said...

I found this page while searching for more information about that book - it was a favorite of mine growing up - I have a dog earred copy that has been read many times! I have never met anyone else who even heard of it. I didn't know the author just walked away.

Anonymous said...

Loved this book when I was a young girl. Found it at Amazon- why is it so expensive?

PositiveBob said...

Did you hear the coverage of this book on NPR this morning? I want to get this book for my 12 year old daughter. I searched for it and immediately came to your blog. Thanks for your insightful entry. Sounds like a book everyone should read.

Anonymous said...

Called all the half priced books in the dfw area..no luck finding it

Dave Peins said...

I also heard the NPR story and found your site. I understand the book was published by Knopf - NPR story here - http://www.npr.org/2010/12/18/132135938/barbara-newhall-follett-disappearing-child-genius but no mention of it at Knopf...

Jeane Goforth said...

I heard that on NPR today and almost ran for my bookshelf to hold the book during the story.
This book had a profound impact on my life.
My copy is an Avon Camelot paperback, 1968 edition. I think I bought it in the mid-70s. One of my high school English teachers owned a bookstore that I spent hours in. But it also may have been in a boxed set of 'girls' books that I got for Christmas in the early 70s.
I was so glad to hear more about Ms. Follet in the NPR story.

Anonymous said...

Are her writings available on Kindle or Nook? Sounds like someone should make a suggestion to them?

wonlife said...

i would love to read some of barbara's writings, but, sadly, none of them seem to be in print. does anyone know where they can be found?

Anonymous said...

I am in love with the book and have searched for over ten years, but have never been willing to spend $400-$1000 fir the book. I just found that it is available on the nook for $1.99. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-house-without-windows-eepersips-life-there-barbara-newhall-follett/1030376231#

Sadly, I have a kindle...the hunt continues.

Rachel

Anonymous said...

Okay friends! I now have a copy. This is how I did it. I went to barnesandnoble.com and downloade the free nook app to my pc and bought an ebook copy of the book on the site for $1.99! Now I can read it again. I haven't read this in 12 years and am so excited.

Good luck. I am a teacher and plan to share this story with my fourth graders!

Rackham said...

Hello,

I love this book as well. For anyone who wishes to read it, it's available as a free download at this site:

http://sites.google.com/site/thehousewithoutwindows/