“Through literacy you can begin to see the universe. Through music you can reach anybody.
Between the two there is you, unstoppable.” – Grace Slick
Your mother did teach you that books are your friends didn’t she? Mine did. We were taught you shouldn’t write in the margins or on the front and back matter. Dog-eared, turned down corners were a no-no. “Be careful not to tear the pages and if you loan out a book, always get it back” was hammered into our brains.
In my opinion, the more dog-eared and well-worn a book is the more treasured it becomes. The faded colors on the books cover are still bright in your mind. The notes penciled in the margin are like the grocery list you left on the table. When found after the fact, there was always an item forgotten. The crayon markings scrawled across the pages of your child-hood books intertwining with your own lines and scribbles are endearing notes from your children – a sweet remembrance of bed time reading.
I used to have books…lots and lots of books…now I don’t. My bookcases were overcrowded. There was no available room on the coffee table for coffee or Danish because of the books spilling haphazardly off the edges. Bedside tables were groaning from book overload. There were books in the closets, on the floors, and books on the beds not being used. They were stacked in corners and next to the sofa. There were even a few in the trunk and back seat of my car. I never go anywhere without a book to read. It passes the time while I wait for appointments, get stuck in traffic, or am waiting on H to finish some kind of business.
We downsized to a smaller house. Oh No! My books! What will become of them? Eleven hundred and forty-five square feet is not enough room to hold on to items that have already served their purpose and others might enjoy. Granted, if we had less old furniture pieces and more bookcases, this would not be a problem, but that’s another story and a thorn in my side.
I had to sort through the chaos, making lists of what to keep and what to discard. It wasn’t easy. Only I could decide. My beloved copy of ‘Burrheads Confessions’ made the cut. This was found on the internet many years ago when it couldn’t be found, by my brother and gifted to me. It was a book that was lovingly read to us by our mother as we traveled to Alaska and it will always hold a prized place on my bookshelf. My pile was small, but what else could I do?
I jotted my name inside the front cover – which is a no-no – and then passed the majority of my books to my girls who all love books and read as much as I do. They scribbled their name under mine after reading and then passed the story along to the next sister in line who in turn does the same. Soon the well read piece comes full circle. That’s when I say, “Keep it. It’s yours. Share with your friends, or start a library. I don’t have the room.”
Andrew only reads music if he can help it. I guess reading music is better than not reading at all and yes, that’s a gift because I can’t read music. Can you? But, even music pages are marred with scribbles. Musical notes are marked through and then changed. Some notation is added at the top or bottom. Notes are numbered and the pages are curling with a slight tear or two around the edges. Dates of prized performances are notated at the top and sometimes even a score that was received on the piece. To me, this shows the love and hard work that was entered into learning this piece of music.
Now we have music – piles, boxes, and filing cabinets full of music. I try to keep it contained and in order, storing the sheets flat to keep the edges from curling. One day most of this music will make its way to Andrew. He won’t be left out. He will always have something to read. I did keep some of his favorite child-hood books so someday he may be able to instill the love of reading words in his own children one day.
Some of my books went to friends and a lot went to Goodwill. I miss my books, but hopefully, they all ended up in good homes surrounded by love and an abundance of reading power.
This article was inspired by a recent post by Susannah Bianchi. You can read it here.