...and I desperately miss the Card Catalog.
Not the Crate and Barrel Catalog. Or Pottery Barn. Or Bed Bath and Beyond.
Once upon a time, in every library in the world, there was a Card Catalog. A precise and accessible inventory of each and every book filed and sorted into three categories.
Author. Title. Subject.
Enormous oak cabinets with drawers in alphabetical order filled with cards, right in the middle of the storybook bungalow. The treasure trove of literary legacies.
Descriptive enticing inviting introductions to the written word.
Books. Books. Books.
Author. Title. Subject.
My fifth grade reading list included The Red Badge Of Courage, Moby Dick, A Night To Remember, and Ivanhoe.
In high school, every freshman received a handbook of memorizations. In order to pass each year, we had to be able to recite the required passages. It never ceases to amaze me that even now I can recite the introduction to the Canterbury Tales in Old English...
"When that Averylle with his shoures soote
The droughte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich lycour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour
What zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every hold and heeth
The tendre croppes/ and the yongge sonne
Hath in the Ram/his half cour yronne
And smale foweles maken melodye
That slepen al the nyght with the open Iye"
How is it that I can remember those words
and not the passcode for my garage door?
What I do know, what I do love, are books.
I am an unabashed bibliophile.
I love to read and I honor the authors who write.
Writing is risky behavior.
Reading is too.
But it is a joy.
These days it seems we read what we are told we should read. Or what sits on the first kiosk in the front of the few remaining book stores or at the top of a list in a newspaper.
Thus, I miss the Card Catalog. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to read and who. But in the good old days, fingers flipping through the cards in the card catalog on the hunt for my favorite author’s titles, another Subject came up. Literally. Ernest as in Hemingway...and Earhart as in Amelia...Amelia Who? Did what? And just like that I am in the stacks looking for a female pilot lost somewhere in the Pacific and never found.
I have met so many authors in my life time. No, not in person. Actually, I prefer it that way. I meet them in a much better place, where we both can walk together, on their pages and through their words. Words just like these but put together in such subtle and not so subtle combinations that the result is magical.
So...here I sit thinking about those authors who have traveled with me through this lifetime and I thought I would share them with you. Some are no longer with us in body, but their body of work lives on.
Have you read them too?
(Don't miss the next Chapter...The Yard Yetis A Gardeners Tale...the link is at the end of this blog waiting for you.)
Leo Buscaglia...American Professor USC
“Don’t smother each other. No one can grow in the shade.”
Bus 9 To Paradise The Way of the Bull
ee.cummings...American Poet and Playwright
”The world is mud-luscious and puddle wonderful.”
Charles Dickens...English Author
“No one is useless in this world,
who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.”
A Tale Of Two Cities A Christmas Carol David Copperfield
F.Scott Fitzgerald...American Author
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”
Tender Is the Night The Great Gatsby
Nathaniel Hawthorne...American Author
“Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.”
The House Of Seven Gables The Scarlet Letter
Ernest Hemingway...American Author
“I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
The Sun Also Rises A Farewell To Arms For Whom the Bell Tolls
A.A. Milne...English Author and Poet
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so that I never have to live without you.”
Winnie the Pooh Now We Are Six
Chuck Palahniuk...American Author
“More and more, it feels like I’m doing a really bad impression of myself.”
Edgar Allen Poe...American Author
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming, dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”
The Pit and the Pendulum The Tell Tale Heart
Carl Sandburg...American Poet
“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in mud.”
William Shakespeare...English Playwright and Sonneteer
“When a father gives to his son, both laugh, when a son gives to his father, both cry.”
The Taming Of the Shrew Romeo and Juliet Macbeth
Harper Lee...American Author
“Real courage is when you know you are licked before you begin, but you see it through no matter what.”
To Kill A Mockingbird
Jack Kerouac...American Author
“Write in recollection and amazement for yourself.”
On the Road
Shel Silverstein...American Poet, Singer, Songwriter
“Never explain what you do. It speaks for itself. You only muddle it by talking about it.”
Where The Sidewalk Ends The Giving Tree A Light In the Attic
Erma Bombeck...American Author and Columnist
“Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.”
At Wit’s End
The Grass Is Always Greener On the Other Side Of the Septic Tank
Thomas Wolfe...American Author
“The reason a writer writes a book is to forget a book and the reason a reader reads one is to remember it.”
Look Homeward Angel You Can’t Go Home Again
Fannie Flagg...American Author
“Remember if people talk behind your back, it only means you’re two steps ahead. “
Fried Green Tomatoes Can’t Wait To Get To Heaven
Cecelia Ahern...Irish Author
“I just feel very often like a child in an absolutely weird world. I think that life is quite weird sometimes.”
If You Could See Me Now Thanks For the Memories
Maeve Binchy...Irish Author
“I don’t have ugly duckling turn into swans in my stories, I have ugly ducklings turn into confident ducks.”
Light A Penny Candle A Week In Winter
Marian Keyes...Irish Author
“I went gray at 12, my eyesight went at 17.
I’ve been a crock from early on.”
Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married The Brightest Star In the Sky
Elizabeth Barrett Browning...English Poet
“Who so loves believes the impossible.”
The Sonnets From the Portuguese
A.E. Housman...English Poet
“That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain, the happy highways where I went and cannot come again.”
A Shropshire Lad
Nick Hornby...English Author
“We can’t be as good as we want to. So the question then becomes, how do we cope with our badness?”
High Fidelity A Long Way Down
David Sedaris...American Author
“But I don’t distinguish between being laughed with and laughed at.
I’ll take either.”
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Edith Wharton...American Author
“Life is always a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope.”
The Age Of Innocence
Herman Melville...American Author
“To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.”
Moby Dick Omoo
Mark Twain...American Author
“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer The Prince and the Pauper
Nick Flynn...American Author
“If you’re going to write about someone’s life, you don’t just use them for wallpaper. You have to honor and respect that life.”
The Reenactments: A Memoir
Richard Russo...American Author
“It’s no secret that in my books I’m trying to make the comic and the serious rub up against each other just as closely and uncomfortably as I can.”
Nobody’s Fool Empire Falls Bridge Of Sighs
Lisa Genova...American Author
“And you, Mom, I loved you. You’ve asked if I felt and understood that you loved me, of course I did. And you know this. I loved your love because it kept me safe and happy and wanted, and it existed beyond words and hugs and eyes.”
Still Alice Left Neglected Love Anthony
Liane Moriarty...Australian Author
“All these years there had been a Tupperware container of bad language in her head, and now she opened it and all those crisp, crunchy words were fresh and lovely, ready to be used.”
What Alice Forgot The Husband’s Secret
Jonathan Tropper...American Author
“Even under the best of circumstances, there’s just something so damn tragic about growing up.”
This Is Where I Leave You One Last Thing Before I Go
This is a small sample of MY card catalog. Surely you have yours.
What I wish most for you is that whether you search for your books online or on Amazon or in a small town book shop...
Is that you find the prose treasure you seek...
And as the Welsh Writer Dylan Thomas forewarned...
“Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Oh and one more author and one more story as
The Yard Yetis A Gardeners Tale continues right here...