Aftermath of the Holidays Part I

A gift implies a future.

Christmas had passed and the manger scene put away. I discover an unopened box next to my computer. With my name written on it. It is from the shop that sells notebooks with hand-made paper bindings and special pens. Inside, when I finally get around to opening it, is a gold-rimmed magnifying glass with a variegated blue handle.  I am a bit nonplussed. I had already received a gift of a special pen, with the same variegated blue design, and a notebook, even though that personal approach to writing is temporarily beyond me. True, I can again write on the computer as my bones and tendons recover from my fall, but I realize it’s not the same. My thoughts can flow down from my brain to my fingers, but the results are as impersonal as the printed page. Technology today is amazing and had I wanted, I could even transform the dictated word into print. Was this gift a wish that soon, in a not too distant future, I could write once more by hand?

Then, among my gifts, there are also two books. Not slender ones I can hold with one hand, for one of them has over a thousand pages, and the other one a bit over seven hundred. So to read them, I somehow have to flatten out the pages, one by one, while I re-educate my fractured wrist. I could of course also find the books, the pages, on the web and read them on a small hand-held screen. I suppose I’m too old, too old fashioned, for that though. I like to move back and forth in what I am reading, reread a paragraph, check up on a character.

So far there are only four principal figures in the slightly smaller book and I find myself fascinated by their interactions. I can relate to them. Their environment and their times are familiar to me, or at least almost, for I lived in the New York of the 1950s and studied at the university. When we read a book, do we necessarily identify with the personages? Even if the story takes place in Mesopotamia thousands of years ago, or in some future light years away?

In the larger book, the number of actors is daunting, impressive. I’ve been told that actually I only needed to know who four of them were and follow the adventures of their families over the centuries as a cathedral is built in medieval England. It was written in the 1980s, of stories that evolved centuries ago. Still it too is a place and time I am acquainted with. Romanesque and Gothic times are in a sense part of my own heritage. It is a past that is part of my present and as I read the book it will become part of my future.

5 thoughts on “Aftermath of the Holidays Part I

  1. These are beautiful objects Erika. If they are not easy to use while your wrist is recovering from injury then you will have to look at them and admire them as ornaments!
    Books of seven hundred or a thousand pages are indeed a problem – for anyone at any time. I was once given a paper back of that sort of length to read while on jury service (there was an excessive amount of time spent hanging around). I found the solution, for me, was to rip the volume into smaller parts that I could slip into my pocket. My wife was scandalised!


  2. I am admiring the exquisite photo as well as the good wishes of the gift giver and the thoughts expressed here. In case I too will be listed as “Anonymous,” I’m
    going to confess right here that this is Diane✍️💚📘


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