Who Left the Sun Inside this Book?

Have you ever found something extraordinary or intriguing tucked inside the pages of a book?

I have found grocery lists for elaborate meals and medical appointment cards forgotten as bookmarks in the public library. In the university library I have come across notes taken for classes or lists of books for term papers, which always brings a familiar pain; all that time and research for nothing.

Once I found a tirade detailing the transgressions the letter writer felt someone committed against her. After reading a few embarrassing lines I stuck it back in the book. Yikes!

My greatest find was also a picture stuck between the pages of a book I picked up in a university library:

Sun.jpeg

Incredible detail and technique! But what was the inspiration? Boredom? Soothing nerves before a midterm? Or just the desire to create? The medium is black ink on a napkin: restaurant, coffee house, bar? And why was it left? Using the napkin as a place-holder while studying and forgetting about it? Or, shoved inside and left on purpose? A frustrating mystery.

But here is the bigger mystery: This is my symbol. I have been collecting, imagining, wearing and enjoying sun and moon images for decades.

Sometimes I like them together:

sun2.jpeg

Sun3.jpeg

And sometimes I like them alone:

Sun4.jpeg

This crescent I wear almost every day:

moon.jpeg

I consider myself mostly a moon person, as I love the night and darkness. When the crescent moon appears each month it is a joy to see and acknowledge. The crescent is an expectant symbol of newness, promise and hope.

I found the napkin in 2002 and have moved house several times, each time making sure to take it with me. All this time it has had a prominent place on my altar:

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O Unknown Artist…I thank you!

What have you found stuck in a book?

My Past in Books

I ride public transportation regularly.

During my time in Seattle and Chicago and back here in Southern California, I spent countless hours reading in buses, trains and planes and while waiting for them. I sometimes reconstruct my life by what I was reading when.

For example, thoughts of the New Yorker magazine take me to my 5 years in 1990s Chicago and my morning commute from the North Side to the Loop. I missed my stop several times, because I was engrossed in one article or another. I also re-read Jane Eyre while traveling on the ‘L’ and realized how differently it read as an adult than when I read it as a teenager.

While in Chicago I also became acquainted with author Nora Zeale Hurston,

in Pandora's Box
in Pandora’s Box

actress and writer Louise Brooks and the philosophy of A Course in Miracles all of which changed my life in unique and permanent ways.

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Early location, Elliot Bay Books

In Seattle, I mark my year-long stay not only by the books I read, but in the glorious bookstores of the town. I found The Varieties of Religious Experience at The Quest Bookshop. At Elliot Bay Books I met my Great Aunt Dorothy regularly where we first ate their delicious soup before exploring the stacks. I strolled through Bailey Coy on Broadway often and gained inspiration from Red and Black Books. And the countless second hand bookstores gave me treasures that helped me through that dark and difficult winter.

And in Iceland, or seriously, ‘Bookland,’ since everyone reads and writes, though I didn’t know the language, the bookstores felt familiar with their floor to ceiling shelves and table-laden books, coffee, pastries and conversation.

anneggMore recently my commutes to work have been marked by L.M. Montgomery, or I should say Anne Shirley as the bus powers down Pacific Coast Highway. Lost in the magic of Anne’s Lover’s Lane, the Haunted Woods and the fixes Anne and her friends fall into, I am absorbed into the early 19th century Canadian past.

I have always loved to read. And it is obvious to me how much reading has affected my life and helped construct me as a person. Who would I have turned out to be without this love?

Thankfully, I will never know, because I will always have something to read!

livingroom