I am writing here after a long time- an eye operation, family upheavals and bereavement, illness and other things took up time. But I did write elsewhere as a commitment to write everyday, although it is not as enjoyable as writing here. For here, I write as myself and on whatever takes my fancy. I am my own captain here.
I meant to write this post in the new year as I sorted out my stuff and seriously took up organising my life. As I was getting rid of my stuff, mostly books- giving to charity, or people, recycling or selling, I came across this scene at my local library. Not to let any moment go without buying books, this was so tempting for me. So tempting until I learnt the story behind this pile of books. They belonged to a dead man and were being sold to raise money for the library. These books- new or second hand- were those he had bought, and never read- price labels intact. Hundreds of boxes underneath the tables! There were more apparently but the library ran out of space to take this generous gift.
I thought of how much this man had loved reading like I do and yet never found time to read them like I do. I also have a big collection of books, but not as much as this. Now that my eyes do not like the strain with the onset of glaucoma, I have started to read as little as possible. I thought of a time, when I might have to do this or heaven forbid, my children might have to do this when I am gone. No, no, no! I felt the sadness of a possession that is never used. Some people use things as a means of declaring their worth to the world. Some use books to hide their nervousness of facing the reality. I realised I read many books on organising and clutter and yet was afraid of actually tackling it. I hung on to my self improvement books in the hope that I may improve just by reading them or reminding myself of their titles. But life is lived in the reality, in the existence, in the mess of the world by learning, failing and trying again. By holding on to a book, not only did I not have to take the action in the real world, I thought its existence on my shelf meant I possessed its qualities too.
So by releasing my ‘crutches’ of books, I found opportunities to engage with people and learn so much more than a solitary instruction of a book. My life has become richer and my speaking and language have improved. I feel more confident. I have an important speech due in ten days. Normally I would have felt nervous, but now I feel happy to welcome a new way of revealing my thoughts and communicating with people. Life is experience, life is conversation! In the moment.
PS- I did buy two books from that table but that is another post!