Opinion Pieces / The Artistic Process

The Power of Books and Memory.


I have carried books with me my whole life. No matter where I go they are with me. They have comforted me in moments of almost inconsolable grief and have provided me with a place of escape. My bookshelf is filled with the signposts of all the good and bad that has come in and out of my life.

Rather than actual bookmarks I tend to use postcards and museum, travel, and concert tickets. I also have a habit of leaving them inside the books. These are, like my books, markers from my journey through life.

I went searching through my bookshelf yesterday because a friend had asked me to lend her something new to read. I pulled out some books and flicked through them to try to find the right book for her. As I began to leaf through the pages I found little scrapes of paper and tickets that took me back to so many different places in my life.

I first found an old bookmark that I got after purchasing some used books from The Dusty Bookshelf in Lawrence, Kansas. I was traveling with a friend of mine and we came across this beautiful new and used bookstore. I think we spent a few hours digging through shelves. I bought Madame Bovary, The Open Boat and Other Stories, and The Red Badge of Courage from that store.

I also found an old bus ticket dated for June 2011. It was for Melbourne, Australia. I used this ticket when I traveled with my boyfriend (now husband) to Melbourne for my birthday. This was a particularly stressful and uncertain time in my life. My father had been battling cancer for almost a year and we didn’t know when or how that battle would end. It’s a bittersweet memory because in Melbourne, I remember having discussions with my boyfriend saying that I was hopeful my Dad would make it through. When I came home from that trip, my father was told he had stage 4 cancer and would have, at best, six to 12 months to live. I look at that bus ticket as a reminder of what it is like to hope for something and what it is like to know that hope can only do so much.

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Do your books remind you of things from your past? I would love to hear your stories too.

Remember to share the reading love.

 

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