Sunday, January 3, 2010


There is a stained, empty wine glass on my desk and a copy of Tennysons Complete Works sitting next to my lap top right now. I bought the wine from a small package store, it wasnt any good, but at least I made an attempt at enjoying Reds. I still don't. The book however, I do enjoy. I bought it from a bookshop in Plymouth. It's an old book. A handwritten note from the previous giver of the book reads: "Flora Williams from L.I.W, Christmas 1891" Its funny. I bought the thing several months ago, thought the note charming, and then stood the volume on my bookshelf to return to it later. While I am already a huge fan of Lord Alfred Tennyson, I hadn't taken much time out to read this particular copy. I have so many books - though not as old and marvelous - that I haven't taken the time to read yet.

Considering I have all the time in the world these days, I've put myself on a reading schedule, trying to work my way through the many neglected pages of the stories others have written and that I now posess. That I own such a book as this - to have someones handwritting from one hundred and nineteen years ago - makes me feel honored. I feel like I'm the keeper of something special. These people: the giver and the reciever of the gift the note adresses, they lived in a time that is SO far removed from the time that exists today. They are gone. Yet here is their handwritting, here is the book they exchanged. Now it is mine. And the poems within - they existed even before the book was printed, or the note written, or myself purchased it. Its a dizzying concept - to think all of that can come from a littel note if one feels so inspired as to think that way. Luckily, for the situation, I happen to think that way - especially when my thoughts are prempted by an empty wine glass.

So, what else is sitting lonely on my unread bookshelf? I'll give a sampling. Great Expectations by Dickens. I purchased that a year ago, read 20 pages and got distracted by something less important than a Dickens classic I'm sure. There is The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Two in the Far North by Mardie Murie. The Complete Works of H.G. Wells. (I bought that in a moment of lofty idealism of owning the classics while back in highschool). Then there are texts I've always found compelling which I had to purchase for college classes. I was a history major, so many of my books for those courses were fascinating. I havent parted with many of them. Forgetful of their Sex by Jane Tibbetts Schulenburg. A History of the Modern Middle East by William Cleveland. Then there are my poetry books. But you get the picture. Right now I own a bookcase that is COVERED, as is the shelves in my desk. A small column has recently advanced onto the wall shelf under my windows. It's a disease I think - to purchase books faster than I can read them. But thats ok. Considering the plethora of aillments out there, I will accept my affliction of bibliophile with gratitude.

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