Monday, September 18, 2006

my comfort blanket

On Saturday I spent the day in Kingsbridge. Mark's show was finishing so I went in to steward with him. As I write this I realized what a crap steward-backup I was. I was there for about five minutes and then I left him to it. I think I owe him an apology!

As I set off into town I asked my angel-book-therapist to lead me to something inspiring. I've been kind-of in a hibernatingy-homeiscky-odd mental space and I wanted some clarity. As I rarely get into town alone, I was determined to make my way up one side of the road and down the other. (Not all of these shops sell books, but I managed to bring back an absurd amount of printed material with me. I think I have a real problem.)

I started my book-browsing in the Oxfam shop. I sincerely hoped for a second-hand book of Mary Oliver's poetry (ha! no such luck) but ended up leaving with a 99p copy of Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and two other enticing paperbacks. Inside one of the books I bought was a receipt that someone had used as a bookmark. I was deeply interested in this seemingly ordinary item. I think I will use its contents as a writing prompt. Other people's grocery bills say a lot about them.

From there I kept browsing. I went into every shop hoping for inspiration. I bought another book that I think will be a Christmas present, a newspaper, and a women's magazine. Despite now owning millions of words to read I was feeling despondent over my lack of an enlightening moment. Then I went into the only actual Bookstore in Kingsbridge. Silently I passed the shelves, picking up a book here and there, searching for the Oliver book, and hoping for something wonderful. I was drawn to a shelf far in the back. Sitting on the top was a small white book called, "Everything I've Ever Done that Worked" by Lesley Garner. I have only climbed three short essays into it, but I think I found the inspiration I was looking for - it's fabulous!

But I don't know how many people go to town and only come back with 5 books, one newspaper and a magazine. I have serious problems. When Mark laughed at me I said to him, "but they are like my security blanket. I don't feel right unless I have books around me." I hadn't thought about it like that before. I love the smell, the feel, the taste of books. I love the possibility, the potential, the wisdom, the worlds, the friends, the tenseness and the drama. I don't just love books, I NEED them. It's past addiction. Books as an entity in my life are as natural and necessary to me as breathing.

What would I spend my last $5.00 on? Food? No. Shelter? No. It's gotta be something to read. Is that wrong?

18 comments:

liz elayne said...

i am sitting here nodding my friend. yes. i know this too. if ever you happen to be in my home, you will see that we are a bit addicted to books in this house (and to the art of Brian Andreas).

la vie en rose said...

nope! i'm right with ya. that's what i'd spend money on too. i have so much credit card debt and i know the vast majority of those purchases were books. and i'm ashamed to admit the number of books i've purchased that are just sitting on the shelf but have never been read. but at the time i NEEDED it... it smelled so good... it felt so good in my hands... the cover was so charming...

chest of drawers said...

NO -it´s not wrong! I absolutely understand!

b/sistersshoes said...

Reading this was like looking into a mirror. I have told my family..."When I die, bury me with all of my books." As morbid as that sounds....they ARE our friends and security blankets!

I love and treasure each one...and that's a lot of lovin :)

xxx Darlene

Robyn said...

Meg, I am obsessed with books. My house is filled to the brim with books. I now have to stash them under the beds because there is just no more space to put them. I was also on a search for inspiration when I discovered Lesley Gardeners, Everything. Its the sort of book you can just dip into anywhere, anytime. Happy reading.

Laini Taylor said...

Sounds like a lovely day! I'm a fellow book junkie, so it doesn't sound strange to me at all. It sounds just about right. Throw in a new blank journal, an hour at a coffee or teahouse, and it sounds perfect! And I'm curious what was on that receipt!

sophie said...

This is scary as i was thinking
about blogging about this very
addiction.
When i down or up...
I head out to buy a book.
And i love that writers
have walked the path of life
before me and felt similar
things and lived to write about
it - so i feel less alone
or inspired or in awe.

Books are vital to me.
More than food or air or even...
(gasp) water.

Wonderful post:)

deirdre said...

I don't know ... sounds like you've got your priorities straight. There's nothing as calming as a good bookstore browse.

Patry Francis said...

"Everything I've ever done that's worked"--what a marvelous book title. I want to hear more!

Susannah said...

sweetie, you and i are twins - every time i go out i come back with words, whether books from charity shops, newspapers, magazines, books of yummy poetry (been doing this a lot recently) - and then the books arrive through the door from amazon... i love it! books are my security blanket too - i know *exactly* what you mean.

I have Garner's book, and i actually pulled it off the shelf a few days ago and now have it on my coffee table to dip into in the evening - i bought it when it was published and went to see her give a talk. she's a wily old bird and been through some shit in her life - inpiring!
xx

HoBess said...

I totally understand what you're saying. I accidentally stopped reading a few weeks back ... one of those shifts in routine that you don't feel happening ... it made me quite cranky! I'm a much nicer person when I can jump into a book during my down time. Enjoy!

Alexandra S said...

Doesn't sound wrong a bit. I'm the exact same way. And I always have a book with me. One of my worst fears is having spare time to read, say in line at the post office or if my car breaks down, and no book to enjoy! I call myself Linus except instead of a blanket I have to have a book.I raid bookstores like candyshops. I also raid Laini's personal library all too often too but shhh, don't say anything as I am going over there later!

Mardougrrl said...

I can't seem to stop myself from buying books...I am a total book addict (and of course now I am looking to find a copy of the Garner book...I read a bit of it on Amazon and it sounds wonderful!). If I had a dollar for the bus and found a dollar book, I would happily walk from wherever I was.

Wonderful post.

kj said...

hello, hope you don't mind my visit. my last $ 5 goes for books too. sometimes i have to have them nearby evening when i'm not reading them...

:)

Bohemian Girl said...

it is so not wrong! it is perfectly right and i love this about you.

xoxoxo

chiefbiscuit said...

Nah that's not wrong at all ;)

Colorsonmymind said...

That is divine.

I loved traveling along with you here. I would love to find a second hand MO book. I am crazy about her.

Your finds sound delish even though you didn't find a second hand MO.

Kisses

Amber said...

Oh, I am JUST the same!! It borders on an illness. Really. But I never though of it like that, either! That is how is feel, like a security blanket.

:)