Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Unpacking Books

Books are white-haired friends who sit down at my table for tea.

When I was an adolescent, I read endless survival stories. All fiction. And when my parents would close up the cabin on Labor Day, I'd sit behind the open cupboard my grandpa had built, planning how I would ration the remaining canned and dry food to last me the winter, should my family happen to leave me behind.

In my early twenties, I gave up on fiction. One too many Victorian novels in college. Or perhaps short essays and poetry better suited the constant interruption made by my battling toddlers.  A single poem could marinate on my tongue for days.

The decade of single parenting, my thirties, brought creative non-fiction. By that time, I realized there were so many lives I could not live. My life felt largely fixed; an unmoving path to create the illusion of stability for my two children. Oh, but I walked on mountain tops, and tried out Buddhism, and discovered how to live more simply in Helvetica and Times New Roman.

And now? To take my journals--my own past and meld it with "how to" guides on being present, building (rather than writing) books, living in an air stream trailer, walking down the aisle of pastels and acrylics, rubber cut-outs and acid-free paper. Pulling it all up to me like the ASL sign for blanket and climbing underneath; finding the security to release any remaining aspects of self-consciousness.

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