Bookstore Confessions, on the Sabbath

09 July 2012

I observed the Sabbath today. Four precious hours, armed with an oversized Fossil bag filled with library books and chapstick (my bricks and mortar), an iced coffee, and a cool summer breeze shocking the system, giving me unmatched, unanticipated pleasure after ten days of 100 degree heat.
A comfy chair is not so important to me as a beautiful view.

My intention was to read uninterrupted, but more often than not, I found myself writing. In my head, on my phone, in the pink journal gifted to me by the Thursday morning mums from Donabate. I write them letters here, prayers and questions, updates from a life in exile (or in my case, two years in my homeland; not exactly exile, but not wholly benign, either).
I think the city is beautiful.
Bricks and wrought iron.
Ivy and concrete.
Trees lining a busy boulevard.
Flip-flops on hot pavement.
It seems the city speaks to me, sometimes more than people do.
I recently told someone (ok, fair disclosure: commented on a blog) that The Confessions of St Augustine was "one of my favourite memoirs." 
Oh my, who even says that?!
Truth be told, this is mostly a lie. I have read it and I did love it, but I don't remember it, don't remember why I loved it. I don't recall the words or the voice, or the rush in my brain when I closed it and felt I understood it, felt it speak to me.
Where does one find The Confessions of St Augustine in a bookstore? In Christianity? Alphabetical by Author? Au for Augustine? He's certainly no Dr for Driscoll.
Then today, in the book I'm reading, a quote:
God is He Who gives God.
I remember you.
Ah, here he is. Philosophy. Obviously.



I have a love/hate relationship with bookstores. I love the smell, the mature scent of a thickly turned page, the world written out and displayed for my hungry eyes, the cover art and the panelled walls.
I hesitate. Should I really post all these existential gems on my blog? What if I write a book one day and all material must be unpublished, virgin, the rights of first refusal and all that?
Yet I hate the excess, too many options, so many possibilities but so little time and money, the bad cover art and - when it comes right down to it -  the words written that I might want to write someday, inscriptions to other people's loved ones and not my own. They have written books, and I have not. Not even a novella.


I am afraid I have next to nothing to offer. No skill, no trade, no big words made fancy by pedigree or experience. Time is all I have to offer the world. And my children; they are perhaps my true offering to the betterment of society. Though now, more than ever, I am less inclined to part with them.
I do have Jesus to offer the world, but He's difficult to market and impossible to replicate.
I covet their words, their bylines, and their cover art. I covet my need for them, our communal need to read, to learn, to grow through and from them. I wish I had something to say.
My time... and my children... and my Jesus...
But other than that, I mostly love bookstores.

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