Who are these silent strangers waiting for me to know who they are?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Wednesday - I am contemplating a few odd stray thoughts. Like, for instance, did you ever pass an old, neglected house and see numerous windows missing their glass? These houses seem like caves, dark and somehow foreboding inside. There's that indefinable feeling that blends the "something's not right" uneasy feeling with the "how did this happen" what's inside there feeling. Sometimes, when I see an old building I just feel sadness or regret. So, why do certain ones creep me out? Certainly, driving along a single lane dirt road in the hollers of WV adds to the creep factor. But in the middle of town on a sunlit day, there is a certain house that screams "DON"T ENTER HERE! MURDERERS, RAPISTS, PIG SQUEALING PERVERTS ARE LURKING." It is right next to a quaint, and respectable house with a little pink bicycle on the porch and Yellow flowered curtains in the window.

And, why do certain old books make me want to hold them like priceless treasures, while others just need to be thrown out. Their weight is part of it, I think. A heavy, ornate book with rag paper pages, printed on letterpress and illustrated lavishly with beautiful, crisp wood engravings and bearing gilt designs on the cover is much preferred over a light weight, dried out brown, wood pulp paged volume that threatens to disintegrate if you actually turn a page. It's true that the one I prefer to hold is the Chemistry textbook from 1890 and the well bound but brittle book contains Thackeray's Vanity Fair.

And speaking of books, over and over I find books that are lost gems. I look at them and think, someone, somewhere would love this book. I mean really cherish it and read it and appreciate it. But will they ever even know it exists? I have this delightful Travelogue by Burton Holmes. He was a guy that simply traveled and took photos and movies - and then returned to the States with his beautiful works and went on tour. He performed six shows a week, sometimes in six different cities, in which he just talked about the people and places he had seen. In this particular volume from 1910, he was talking about Korea and Japan. The images are stunning and his stories so interesting. The book itself has beautifully designed pages. Somewhere out there, is a person who would appreciate his photography, stories and his subject. So many orphaned books!

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