The Library Girl Rambles Again!

...if I continue in this pattern, next Tuesday I'll write a post titled "Return of the Rambling Library Girl!" then next, "Brain-Child of the Library Girl" and so-on, spiraling downward into that awful chasm of wretched sequels. I promise not to do that though.

First things first, (do you ever find yourself using a phrase that in your mind you associate with someone else and feel like you should cite it as a quote? I do. But I shan't.) ...Happiness is a cup of Tardis-blend, all warm and berry-sweet and velvety-vanilla and much, much bigger on the inside. But that's not what I'm meaning to ramble about tonight... It was just foremost in my mind, its taste is lingering on my tongue, having just set my empty stoneware aside on the nightstand as I begin to write.

As I was shelving tonight, my fingers skittered across the spine of a book, read long ago and almost forgotten; however, as soon as I saw the title, I could immediately remember where I was when I read it. There are a few books that hold this strong bond with place and time in my memory so that re-reading them--or sometimes merely seeing their covers again--will call forth the friendly ghosts of past reading selves.

Afternoon of the Elves by Janet Taylor Lisle was the book on the shelf this evening that sent me back to a dentist waiting room. All those times as a kid when we all went to the dentist and knocked out 5-6 cleanings in one day certainly lent themselves to getting much reading done. After all the Highlights Magazines had been read cover to cover, I usually settled into my library book, and could wipe out a good chunk of it in the time remaining. Why I specifically remember AoE  and not some other book, I'll never know. One does not simply figure out the why of ones thoughts, reader.

Other book memories? why, yes, of course I'll share!

I'll never read Many Waters by Madeline L'Engle without remembering the One Day Plague that hit our household while we were living in Florida. It was one of those stomach viruses that you just had to resign yourself to, eating absolutely nothing to order minimize discomfort when the inevitable struck. The living room looked liked a battlefront infirmary tent, with pallets laden with the wounded and dying strewn across the ground. I read MW cover to cover that day, in between doses of sickly-pick Pepto, and warm showers to soothe the ache and chills. Despite what you might think, the pairing of sickness with book didn't turn me off to that story forever; rather, its a testament to Ms. L'Engle's powerful storytelling that it was able to draw me away from the misery of illness and carry me through, leave a happy memory in its wake.

Celendine, a faery-story by Steve Augarde, finds me in bed on a rainy afternoon, having cried hard and slept harder after dropping my best friend off at the airport. The weight of the heaviest comforter, the cloak of the low grey sky and my complete immersion in the story distracted me from my depths of despair that day. Again, the unpleasantness of that moment has become one of my best memories; in every grey and dreary day I remember the security of the covers wrapped tightly, and the story holding me tight and wish I could recreate it and escape all over again. It hasn't happened yet, but I always hold out on that hope.

The Great Gatsby, the most recent addition to my reading memories, was consumed over spring break in the enveloping depths of our great, green loveseat. I was keeping house on my own for my older brothers and dad that week, while my mom and the youngers were away. When dinner was taken care of, and house tidied, I would fish the slim paperback out of the cushion, where it had retreated in my absence, and hunt down my purple-clipped mechanical pencil--the one that was lovingly tracing out choice sentences to remember later--and join dear Nick Carraway in his observing and befriending of the great Jay Gatsby. Unlike some of the other books I've recounted here, there was no element of misery to this reading. Everything was well at that time--almost even better than usual. The situation and the reading both were perfect. I suppose there is a twinge of sadness, of longing to have that exact moment back over and over again, to discover my kinship to Nick, to fall in love with Daisy's voice, Gatsby's smile, all just like it was the very first time. But, time is sadly linear, best beloved, and we must move forward to experience new things, read new books, only pausing to back at the past with a smile, and a gladness of heart that it did in fact happen.

My mom has come and gone from my room just now, finding a seat in nearby Lucy Maud to hear my work stories from the night, then heading off to bed. The whole house is silent, still. Here in the aloneness that is oh-so-not-lonely am I most alive. I could conceivably scribble on for hours more, had I more intimate knowledge of the reader on the other side of my screen; I have, on occasion, found myself in that place of deliciously wild inspiration that lead me on into the wee sma's (as Anne called those early morning hours). But not tonight, reader; not tonight.


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