Awash in books

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Since my last post, our house has sold and H. has retired and we’ve officially dissolved his drywall company, incorporated thirty-nine years ago, and we’re culling and making decisions about our possessions. The plan is to spend the summer with our children in Toronto, then settle in B.C.

The last week or so, I’ve been awash in books. I commend to you the article “On the Heartbreaking Difficulty of Getting Rid of Books” by Summer Brennan, not because my process has been that heartbreaking–surprising to me, actually, when I finally got down to it–but because of the lovely words she uses for what books are: “incantations, summoning spells” and “a spark, a balm, a letter from home” and “the rabbit hole, the wardrobe, the doorway between worlds.”

The sorting involved lots of memories and gratitude and wishes for future reading and re-reading. I chose about 170 books to take along. What to do with the rest? Besides donating, I had this bright idea to invite my book club and other friends to come by for a sale-and-tea event I called “Dora’s Used Books Emporium, 2 days only” which has been fun. And interesting. If they get to see what I’ve accumulated, I get to see what they will accumulate. Attractions and reasons are always interesting. Continue reading

Breaking up with the house

IMG_5559There’s this sign standing in the snow and it’s in front of our house and a strange feeling comes over me when I realize that it’s actually there, because even though we’ve been talking about it—thinking about it even longer—and even though we’ve informed some of the neighbours, it’s so very out there now and public and it makes us both feel oddly vulnerable. Continue reading

Hand in and not leaving

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“Nativity” by Brian Kershisnik. Used by permission.

 

This Advent I’m instructed and cheered by “Nativity,” a painting by Brian Kershisnik. A detail of the painting, framing Mary and Joseph and child, appeared on the cover of The Christian Century and I was immediately struck by the curious crowding-in angels and then by Joseph. Oh my, yes, Joseph with his hand to his face and a “what in the world have I gotten myself into?” look. At least that’s what I see in the gesture. I recognize that look, that question. It’s one I’ve had rather too often in the last while about things I’m “into.” Such as this stage of life –getting older, that is– and the current writing project and the book-juror assignment I’ve committed to for the months ahead. Anguished hand to face for matters one can’t change, and for matters to which one has said Yes. Continue reading