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.


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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