Thursday, June 18, 2015

Give Peace a Chance.

I woke up this morning, reached for my smart phone as usual and took it off of airplane mode. My best friend Alice recently told me to keep it on airplane mode at night because I told her I was having trouble quieting my mind.

But I soon found out that the entire Lowcountry couldn't quiet itself last night -- nine people lost their lives in a horrific shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church on the peninsula of Charleston, right in the heart of everything we know and love about the city - our libraries, our art venues, our homes.

Like most of you, I'm forced to digest a good bit of horrible news in this world and find a way to move on. I'm regularly faced with awful stories about humans performing evil acts out of ignorance and desperation -- and I go about my day a little sadder because of it.

I have to say, though, that I've rarely seen the kind of reaction from people -- friends, family and the Charleston community as a whole -- that this shooting has brought about. I've been faced with a lot of mixed emotions from everyone, and I'm trying to say the right thing, but there's one phrase in particular that keeps repeating in my head. It's a phrase my mom repeated to me throughout my childhood and teenage years whenever someone hurt me and she saw my eyes light up in vengeful fury.

Two wrongs don't make a right. 

I'm sure if you're reading this, you know that Dylann Storm Roof was captured in North Carolina earlier today. And I'm not sure how you feel about it; I can't speak for you. But during lunch with my photographer, Jenn, we made the simple observation (while talking about work, but it translates to EVERYTHING ON EARTH) that positivity brings about positivity, while negativity brings about negativity.

That's why I'm urging all of you to find it inside yourselves to take this horrible event and turn it around the right way and spread love. Instead of telling your neighbors that you'd like to see Dylann harmed to the fullest extent of the law, offer your help or a shoulder to cry on. It sounds corny, I'll admit. But I think it's the only way.

When I was a child, I had trouble fitting in with my classmates. I went to a small private school. So I sought refuge with a few kindhearted kids in other grades. They were outcasts like me, either because of the way they looked, the way they behaved or their aptitude inside the classroom. But you know what I remember most about this?

When we were together, we were no longer outcasts. We were a group of friends who protected one another despite our differences. And with that miracle, the bitterness we held toward people who didn't understand us or things we couldn't grasp began to disappear. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Vintage or Bust.

So, I've developed this obsession with vintage books. As of recently, I'll only deal with vintage copies for anything I'm reading ...unless it's a new release, of course.

I prefer stuff from the 1950s and early 1960s -- more specifically, Bantams and Signets. They tend to have a few things going for them: They smell amazing, they have delightfully campy covers and the "about the author" pages are top-notch.

But I think what I love the most about these editions is that I was first exposed to them during my childhood, thanks to the shelves at my grandmother's house where I grew up. Those shelves are lined with books that my uncles and mother obtained during their childhoods, books that fascinated and engrossed me as a kid.

For example, the latest book I'm reading is John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men -- which I've never read before, if you can believe it. I've spent literally a day and half searching for an old copy. What's funny is when I call the used bookstores and ask for the oldest copy they have available, it often ends up being something from, like 1993. Which I don't want, of course. I mean, I was alive in 1993. I was 13 and fully conscious. What's special about that?!

So I called everyone in town, from Mr. K's Used Books to Sullivan's Trade-a-Book to even Dream-a-Lot Books in Goose Creek in search of a respectably old edition of the novel. No dice. They either had no copy whatsoever, or they had a nice, shiny copy produced during my years on this planet. Bleh.

Undeterred, I finally ordered a 1955 copy online this morning, which should get to me in a few days. Until then, I'm begrudgingly reading my library copy so I don't get behind, but I can hardly wait til my oldie arrives in my mailbox. Here's what it looks like. Pretty cool.

Also, I had an idea. What do y'all think about a phone app for vintage book scouters like myself? The app could let us know what copies of a book are nearby and what the edition is. It's food for thought, anyway.

I don't plan to stop buying vintage books anytime soon, even on the days that it proves a difficult sport.  As long as I'm reading the classics (which I always will be) I think I should have classic copies. 

And you can call me a book snob. I won't mind.

Napping with my Signet Classic edition of Great Expectations on my face. Ha.