I have moved around quite a bit. Traveling here, there, and back again many times. Consequently, many of my personal belongings have gotten lost in the shuffle – given away to strangers. Clothes, shoes, housewares, pictures, treasures I have hoarded since childhood. I have learned the (often hard) lesson that possessions are not what makes a person. And that sometimes, you have no choice but to let go of the things you hold most dear.
I now have no more than two suitcases and a few boxes to my name. Nothing that will serve much purpose with activities of daily living … but things I feel are essential parts to my story. I had to make room for what was most important, and so going without matching outfits seemed a fair price to pay in order to keep my books.
Since childhood, books have been my refuge. A way to escape all things mundane, and enter a world entirely new. A place where reality was fluid. Through books I was educated, accepted, nurtured. Through books, I gained invaluable insight into who I was & who I might become.
You will never catch me with a Nook or a Kindle. I could not ever be satisfied reading a novel through a computer screen. How would I scribble my thoughts on the pages? Where would my sticky notes attach? How would I smell the pages?
And if I invested in an e-reader, I would no longer get the thrill of visiting the book sections of flea markets. 5 cent novels that someone has passed along. I can honestly say that carrying a bag full of books home is one of my favorite feelings — which is why they make up half of my belongings.
Rescuing new & used books is not my only delight … I also have an obsession with saving the ones I grew up with. The ones that made the biggest impact on me. I tell myself it’s because I want to pass them on to someone someday — but I think the real reason I hold on to them is because they still bring me joy.
I was read to every night. Mom & Grandma never ceased to amaze me with the books they chose. I loved nothing more than curling up next to them and getting the anxious thrill of the crisp pages being turned. You will never convince me that reading to a child from a screen has the same effect.
Books are treasures. Time capsules. Raw emotion. Cheap (sometimes free!) items that span generations-lifetimes. I can curl the pages, write down jottings that came to mind while reading, fall asleep with a book-tent on my face. I can feel timeless as I read a book the old-fashioned way.
There has never been a moment that I regret giving up my belongings — just as long as I have kept my books safe, warm and loved.
By keeping them, I have preserved history. Not only that of the authors’, but mine as well.
So sniff away, lovely readers, and don’t ever be afraid to let it show.
[Don’t even get me started on people that cut up the pages of books to make “art”]