For the next assignment, write a piece of creative non-fiction that ends with this sentence (or a slight variation): "Suddenly, bittersweet vellichor filled my entire being."One rule: you cannot write about a bookstore in any way, but you will be writing a piece that ends in the wistfulness that comes when visiting used bookstores.
Christy's blog post about The Art of Waxing and Waning is here, and here is Bill's post about his time in a wooded park in the D.C. area.
I am a reader. From the time I can remember, books have been a part of my life, and the life of my family. I could read by the time I was five-years-old. Parents and siblings read to me from the time I was born.
Visits to the local public library was a constant in my life, and continued to be whether I lived in Kellogg, Glendive, Meridian, or back to Kellogg. I have been a part of a “Book Club” for almost 14 years. My childhood home was filled with shelves of books. My current home is filled with shelves of books. Books have always been a part of my life.
Recently I spent a morning in the Kellogg High School library, or “Media Center” as it is now contemporarily known. I had some students taking an assessment on the computers, so I spent time walking around and looking at titles of books on the shelves of the library.
I remember before Christmas I had also been in that library, but I had been in the back room, and saw a shelf with book after book of rare Idaho History titles that I want to take home and read.
On both the occasions I found titles I would like to read someday, but realized the list of the amount of books I want to read someday is quite long.
Last week I revisited, once again, our local Kellogg Public Library to pick up a two books I had put on hold. One was the book that had been chosen for my January Book Club title, and one was the second in a series of the Book Club book that we had read in December.
My project last weekend was to clean out my office, and get it organized. Much of the disorganization of my office was caused by books I had retrieved from shelves in our basement to bring up and put on the shelves in my office. Many of these books had to do with Idaho history, and have been used in research for a book I have been working on for over 10 years.
As I was finding those books downstairs, I also found some books that are old friends, books I had read years ago that I want to revisit.
I look at other parts of the bookshelves in my office, and find books I have never read, but want to read someday soon.
Will I ever have the time to read all the books I want to read? I used to have an Edward Gorrey sweatshirt I used to wear that said “So Many Books; So Little Time”. So true.
Then I look on my Nook booklist. I look on my Kindle booklist. E-books are now a part of my personal library. Each in my e-library I hope to read someday. But is there the time?
Another new collection in my growing library is also audiobooks. Now I cannot only read books, but I can also listen to them as well.
But will I ever have the time to visit all the places I want to visit within the pages of the hundreds of books that fill the shelves of my home, my school library, my local public library, my e-books, my audio books?
This fall I have entered the world of an older Jean Louise Finch who struggles with her view of her father in “Go Set A Watchmen”, read an intriguing fictionalized account of the life of author Virginia Wolff and her sister Vanessa in “Vanessa and Her Sister”, met an eccentric Frenchman who is the chief of police in a small French village in “Bruno, Chief of Police”, and continued reading Joanne Harris’ magical story of Vianne Rocher in her book “A Peach for Father Francis”, a sequel to the book “Chocolat”. I also read my friend Carrie Stuart Park’s newest book “The Bones Will Speak”, where she created a thriller that began right in my own hometown. I am currently half-way through following the adventures of Mark Whatney on Mars in the book “The Martian”.
And put two more books on hold at the library for more reading pleasure. The first is “The Paying Guest” by Sarah Waters, and “Last Bus to Wisdom” by Ivan Doig. It looks like one takes me back to post WWI in England, and the other to Montana.
When I look at the books I have recently read, the ones I have read and want to revisit, and think of all the books sitting there, waiting to be opened, suddenly, bittersweet vellichor fills my entire being.
from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
n. the strange wistfulness of used bookstores,
which are somehow infused with the passage of
time—filled with thousands of old books
you’ll never have time to read,
each of which is itself locked
in its own era, bound and dated and papered over
like an old room the author abandoned years ago,
a hidden annex littered with thoughts