Jonathan Livingston Seagull

I stumbled upon Jonathan Livingston Seagull at a part library, part rent-a-book shop I used to visit as a kid. I usually came back with armfuls of comics from there but this book caught my eye. It was a thin novel, perhaps less than a 100 pages punctuated with neat sketches of seagulls. I absentmindedly added it to the bundle I was collecting to rent and read it many days later. At surface it was about an ordinary seagull aspiring to become extraordinary, but in fact it was an ode to self perfection. The thing which Jonathan wanted to do most was to fly, while the other seagulls were content with food, flapping and the flock. Taking flight here was a metaphor for the single minded pursuit of one’s passion. The book traces Jonathan’s journey who in the pursuit of flying is ignored, ostracized, vilified and eventually deified. His devotion to his dream leads him to transcend all boundaries. He then returns to share what he learned with love and forgiveness in his heart. The book has been described as a fable, a homily and an allegory, I just kept giving copies of it to people. I eventually stopped once I realized that what made me zig at a particular point in my life may not necessarily make others zig or zag. It does have a lot of zig though, if that’s what you’re looking for.