In the midst of a really wonderful one week trip to Alburgh, Vermont, which is about twenty miles south of the Canadian border on Lake Champlaine. The sunsets, as you can see, are an absolute marvel.
Today was the best day so far. Slept late after a long night of game playing. I was the first one up, about nine, and spent about an hour writing. The peace and quiet’s been really helpful with the creative flow, and I finished off the first draft of another chapter, which means I’ve completed three in the past few weeks. I’ll have Chapter Twenty done before the week’s up, too, I bet. That puts me right in line to have my first draft of Pictures completed by the end of September, if things go well.
Getting the kids motivated was the hardest part. They’d prefer to sit on the couch and type away on their computers, if they had their way. It almost took an act of Congress to get them into the car and on the road by one.
We basically just drove down the coast of Lake Champlaine, stopping whenever we had the urge. At one point we noticed a book sale at the North Hero Library, a small one-room library in the middle of nowhere.
The book sale was held in the basement, which was basically a cement cellar held up with (believe or not) birch logs. I knew it was going to be fun to sort through everything that was accumulated down there, and while there was a lot of crap, I was able to pick up a copy of Walden and Other Writings, as well as The Oxford History of the American People...which sounds like a text book, and probably is...but it looks as if it will make for great bathroom reading.
The history ends with the death of John Kennedy, with the following: “Yet the memory of that bright, vivid personality, that great gentleman whose every act and appearance appealed to our pride and gave us fresh confidence in ourselves and our country, will live in us for a long, long time.” The page ends with lyrics from Camelot.
Even better are the goodies I’ve found wedged inside the pages. A folded leaf on page 85 of Walden. A paid water bill from Stockdon, California dated 1991. A gorgeous bookmark that closes around the page by two magnetic strips. In the American People, a chart from a medical facility for a valve replacement. The patient was from Mesa, Arizona, and I now have her full name, Social Security Number, and Date of Birth...but don’t worry, she was born in 1913...
I think these discoveries such as these are what make picking up used books so much fun. That, and any scribbles or inscriptions that you may happen to come across.
I've written in the past about the fact that I always make it a point to write an inscription when I give books, a habit I picked up from my dad. It’s also why I mark the down the date of every book I finish on the front leaf, along with a few comments concerning what I thought about the book. It makes it more valuable that way, I think.
But perhaps I should go one step further. I’m seriously thinking about scribbling down made-up things, for future books I finish. “Dearest Rolf, my loins ache for you” or “Mysterious rash on left buttock. Think I should fire maid.”
"Read this book after open heart babboon replacement surgery," I could write. "Words seem so much different with an ape organ." Or, "Damn you, Hamilton Jordan!" Perplexing things, things that will really get people wondering, and, as Kathryn Hepburn once said, inspire a frenzy in men.
I guess I'm an old fashioned guy at heart. Well...old fashioned, with a few twists.
Anyway, back to the games...