Saturday, March 22, 2014

What We Leave Behind

I had an overly emotional moment in an independant bookstore last evening when I found another copy of a certain history book for sale signed in a personal way to the author's uncle dated 1982; I mean WtF people? Don't you have any respect for your own friends/ family?

I know it's just a book, but books have life in them by those that wrote them and those that loved them. There's a reason I call something a 'keeper': the item is worth keeping and cherishing. Certainly not all books are keepers to all people, but there are some, that depending on the person, they hold and cherish and love and read and their finger smudges and dna get all over them and in them (and yes,that sounds gross) but it is so with any object. You are infusing your possession with your energy and emotions, (or cigarette smoke at the least!)

Getting back to this, I couldn't breathe. I immediately thought again of an incident my dearest friend had when he discovered his nephew had sold off some valuable things my friend had given his sister over the years; signed books and art.. whatnot.. why had the nephew not given these items back to his uncle when his mother had passed on?? I don't have an answer for it and I will never know.. except that it hurt my friend very much.

I had just come from another store where I'd found a couple French translations (one my Honorary Uncle had done) and it had made me happy in a bittersweet way, knowing he was still alive through print and relevant.. "When you write you live forever and" what was I babbling this morning? .."your soul is bound through your words", and the works you leave behind as well, I would think.

It was all I could do to just leave the shop and keep from crying in public. I really hate that sort of thing, but I ended up walking down Bancroft, hands in my pocket with my face continually leaking.. I went to the Central Library at that point thinking I might have some sort of luck finding the book I was actually after (nope!) The library actually calmed and centered me so that was something. Maybe Ray Bradbury was right about surrounding yourself with books, sniffing the pages and climbing the stacks, (which I did not do!) I left still unhappy but at least not threatening to leak out my eyes anymore, instead I think I was sadly annoyed. What is that? frustrated? I'm sure there's a better word.

It's had me thinking about what we leave behind. I know most things aren't important. Your clothes, your shoes, most of your things.. everything is replaceable. The 5 or 10 items that are YOU or that you hold dear, however are not and go with you regardless of where you end up, and when you can no longer move on.. those are the things you don't want to end up in some used bookstore or auction or whatever. Give them to someone trusted, that will cherish the item too, and not see it as so much waste. Have some respect for people's things. Don't hold on to what isn't yours, but certainly don't just give it to the next person along the way. Find a home for it.