Thursday, July 8, 2010


Aloha, You!
Thanks for stopping by today. . .

"Good children's literature appeals
not only to

the child in the adult,
but to the adult in the child."

~ Anonymous

"People die, but books never die."
~ Anonymous

"Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man
far better than through mortal friends."

~ Dawn Adams

"Books are the legacies that a great genius leaves to
mankind, which are delivered down from generation to
generation as presents to the posterity of those who are yet unborn."

~ Joseph Addison


Marginalia is not of mere marginal interest.

It is the scrawled, or carefully lettered, note
in the margin of a book.

It is the dialogue between a thoughtful reader
and this book.

No author worth their salt would object,
I think,
to such a duet upon the page.

We all want engagement with our ideas,
our rhythm of words,
our vision...

We all, of course,
have been schooled to respect books,
to never mark their pages,
nor underline a beloved passage,
indeed to handle them much at all.
Better, it seems, to leave them on the shelf
where they can remain decorative
testimonial to our erudition.

Books-by-the-foot will sell your decorator
just the wall covering you require.
Spines are all, content interchangeable.

I never read without a highlighter or pen.

So It delighted me to learn that the most collectible
of vintage (REALLY vintage) books
are prized in part
for the marginalia of their historical owners
some famous,
but all immortal.

Some venerable volumes
have passed from learned hand to learned hand
down through centuries,
and embody a timeless conversation of mind
and spirit.

"The body of
B. Franklin, Printer
(Like the Cover of an Old Book
Its Contents torn Out
And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding)
Lies Here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be Lost;
For it will (as he Believ'd) Appear once More
In a New and More Elegant Edition
Revised and Corrected
By the Author.
Benjamin and Deborah Franklin: 1790"

Benjamin Franklin's Final Epitaph

In a recent New Yorker (June 28 2010), Ian Frazier
reports on an excursion to the New York Public Library
where he had the privilege of seeing some
marginalia in the Berg Collection of rare books:

"A few of the marginalia in the books were wordless-
for example, in Jack Kerouac's copy of
'A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers ,' by
Henry David Thoreau.
Kerouac possessed this book but did not own it,
having borrowed it from a local library in 1949
and never brought it back.
On page 227, this sentence-
'The traveler must be born again on the road'-
was underlined in pencil,with a small, neat check mark beside it."


Kerouac's famous title,
of a book that informed my life powerfully,
is an homage to another of my formative writers!

Isn't it fun knowing things
and finding things out?

What writer, book, film, or title
shaped YOU as a creative?

For remember, blogger:

"Learn as much by writing as by reading."
~ Lord Acton

Fondly, cloudia