One of my most prized positions should be my marriage license, but considering I misplaced it for about two/ three months out of the five we have been married, you can tell it isn't. (I can replace it for ten bucks, but good news: I found it like six days ago. Now I can change my name!) I treasure the man, not the piece of paper that proves us to be married.
Anyways, one of my most prized positions is a copy of Truman Capote's "The Grass Harp." The book is a first edition, first printing and has a home in a glass case in the apartment. (My husband quickly learned that he had to ask permission to touch some of my books, like the hard back Harry Potters.) Now, I don't have money, nor will you ever see me pretending to, which is one of the reasons I love this book so much. (Oxymoron, no?)
Books have always been a source of comfort for me. A bad day was always fixed by a trip to the bookstore; I didn't even have to buy a book to feel better. I just had to walk in and take a deep breath and inhale the smell of them. (Trust me, therapy has nothing on the smell of a book and I've had therapy!)
When I worked at the Biltmore Estate, I became a frequent visitor to The Captain's Bookshelf. The second-hand bookstore specialized in rare and first edition books. Some of the books are in huge ornate cabinets; those books are the extremely rare editions, such as a "House on Pooh Corner" signed by the illustrator. Other books were in unlocked cabinets that were situated in the middle of the store.
I use to sit in the store and look at those books; books that one day I could afford, but defiantly not on my 9.50 an hour tour guide job in a expensive mountain town. Books that I knew the authors as if they were friends: Iris Murdoch, Flannery O'Conner, Truman Capote. The nice lady who worked there learned my name and would let me open the cabinets to touch the books. Holding these books made life wonderful. Touching Eudora Welty's signature made me giddy. Then, the Grass Harp arrived. I swear I went in there once a week to hold it.
The store didn't do payment plans, but they had pity from this uprooted girl. Setting up a payment plan with the store gave me a renewed sense of purpose, because at that time I felt lost in my job and my location. Yet, a book, aptly an expensive book, renewed me. I've always had a soft spot for Capote and his stories such as Grass Harp and Christmas Memory make believe he might have been one of the few people to truly understand human nature. Ever since I read Grass Harp as a sophomore in college, I made some of the lines from the book as a personal motto. I never want to loose who I am in this world, which is no easy task and I cannot say I have always been faithful to myself. Hopefully by naming my blog after one of my favorite stories of all times and putting myself in the tree, I can stay true to myself as I write. Therefore I leave you with this quote--the motto of this blog-- from the Grass Harp:
"A person to whom everything can be said. Am I an idiot to want such a thing? But ah, the energy we spend hiding from one another, afraid as we are of being identified. But here we are, identified: five fools in a tree. A great piece of luck provided we know how to use it: no longer any need to worry about the picture we present-- free to find out who we truly are." Judge Cool in The Grass Harp