The Library

Finishing a book is more bitter than it is sweet. Especially when it’s a book that you only get to read once, a book that when picked up again is never the same. The feeling isn’t there, and there’s dust on the paintings. There are some books that can be revisited, though. And instead of finding dust, you find the paintings with more detail than before, brighter and more alive. These books are very rare, I only know of 3.

I spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s house growing up – where I was afforded a lot of free time. I’m a natural loner, so that time was spent in solitude. By 11 I had my own bike and I was a nearly permanent resident of the library at the end of the street.

There was a small teen section situated near the front. The only thing that said “Teen” about it were the red and yellow bean bags, and candy colored spines of young adult literature. But it was comfortable and usually empty, and it became something like my solitary summer clubhouse. The summer I turned 12 my grandfather took me to get my very own library card, meaning I could use the computers and take the books home with me. Before then I had simply read as far as I could and bookmarked it before placing it back in its place, hoping no one came along to check it out. Usually they didn’t, sometimes they did.

Books remained a huge part of my life from there on out. That library, over the course of 6 or better school vacations, heavily shaped the person I became. I experienced so many emotions for the first time inside those walls, with those books and the people that coursed around me unlocking them. I dreamed and imagined, learned and experienced loss. I discovered comic books and Isaac Asimov, I felt the sadness of Hemingway and the light of Ray Bradbury.

After coming back to Michigan I went to find the library vacant and alone, with plywood pressed against its windows and the book return slot taped shut, a poorly bandaged wound. It was closed after the construction of a new, gaudy multimillion dollar library a mile or so away. All good things must come to end, and some endings are particularly bitter – especially when you can never open the book again.

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Weathering the Storm, Without Dying of Boredom First

I am currently sitting on this lazy Sunday, typing this entry as more snow falls outside my window. So much snow, in fact, that we might end the weekend with an additional 20 fucking inches of it. Gross.

My backyard, and Ace, my 3 year old lab.

My backyard, and Ace, my 3 year old lab.

I spent the last three years of my life living in Las Vegas – a land of 120 degree days, sunshine, and the permanent smell of dry rot. Now my life feels more like something out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder story. I currently live in quite a small town in Michigan, a huge change from a few miles off of the infamous Las Vegas strip. A big change in scenery can be quite inspiring, even when you’re trapped in your home and I do my best to take it in.

I’m stocked on food, and more importantly – entertainment.

I have a slew of books begging to be moved to the ‘read’ section of my Goodreads page, and about 10 ongoing and varying artistic pursuits. I’m currently working my way through To Have and Have Not, and The Bone People by Keri Hulme, I picked this up solely because of it’s cover. I bought it this past Thursday when I went to Schuler’s Bookstore after eating half my weight in shrimp and pad thai sauce at Mongolian BBQ (let’s be honest, no one goes there to eat a sensibly portioned meal). The whole time I was eating I kept looking across the street and fantasizing about walking those aisles, touching the spines of dozens and dozens of Bantam and Random House books and finding something new and wonderful to take home.

I try to go into bookstores with an open mind. I keep my “to read” list for purchasing books on my Kindle. This leaves the thrill of the hunt for the pridelands of Barnes and Noble, Schuler’s, and your friendly neighborhood bookstore. A book in its physical form should find you, I think. And find me it did.

A pretty book cover next to my own book cover tattoo. It's the cover of East of Eden.

A pretty book cover next to my own book cover tattoo. It’s the cover of East of Eden.

I was just about to march over to the checkout and buy The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace, when the cover of The Bone People caught my eye. Tucked between haphazardly abandoned copies of The Brothers Karamazov and some Kerouac novel, it simply called to me. It said “Hey, look how cool my cover is. Ignore that ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ stuff, judge me. Pick me up.” I loosely skimmed the pages, and when I got to page 9 I was hooked.

I’ll let you know how the rest goes, in the mean time – I have some shoveling to do.