That is the question facing us today, dear readers—all both of you—as we contemplate the goal, the intention, the vow of posting something every day in this space in tribute to my upcoming birthday. What shall we write about?
I could write about The Dream. Yep, the one I had last night. The one that awakened me with a start, one of the most disturbing and fearsome dreams I remember having. That one. The one with the maniacal laugh and crazy eyes. The one that involved not only my son, but my grandson. I’ll spare you all the details for now, but let’s just say I may have actually screamed my son’s name in real life when I woke with a start. It was that terrible and that realistic.
I could write today about the Ongoing Discombobulation that seems to characterize life these days. Maybe that will come soon. Or maybe it will go away soon, and be replaced by something more productive and pleasant.
I could write about the latest picture of the grandson, mad about his food, but looking like an intense rock star singing into his spoon as a microphone.
I could write about the joy of starting The Chronicles of Narnia over again and catching up with where the grandson is hearing the tales for the first time in his nightly reading/listening time. I could write about how happy it makes me that my son is introducing his son to the wonders of Narnia at an early age.
I could write about how I got some words stuck in my head during this morning’s predawn jaunt, and how I pondered the difference between “shore” and “bank” as the boundaries of bodies of water. Because I tend to geek out about words like that sometimes.
I could write about the fascinating account of one woman’s bicycle adventure from Ireland to India in 1963 (via Maria Popova, natch).
I could write about my put-out-ness (there’s a word for you!) with people who should be grateful for your work on their behalf, but instead pile on incessant demands for impossible results. I could even ponder why I can’t say no to those demands.
But I think, for this moment, at least, I’ll leave all that and think about the scent of books. Real books, I mean. The dead tree/dead octopus kind. One of the most common reasons bibliophiles give for preferring real books over, say, ebooks, the unmistakable aroma, the smell of them. There is a technical term for that aroma, I think, but I can’t put my cursor on it right now. Suffice it to say, the interwebs are rife with articles, posts, and reminiscences about the comforting scent of books. Many of those commentators limit their appreciation to the smell of old books, but I’m quite partial to the smell of all printed books, old and new. Some kids remember the amazing experience of holding that brand-new catcher’s mitt up to their face and taking in the smell of fresh leather, and how that was part of the game. (True confession: that was me, too.) But books! The essence of paper and ink, the feel of the deckled edges…these all add to the tactile adventure that beckons the reader and the lover of craft and art.
That’s what I’ve got on my mind this dark and early Monday. I think I’ll take a few minutes and sniff some books.