Dear Collette

Friday, 18 September 2009

I am enjoying slowly savouring Mark Nepo's "Book of Awakening." I bought it like I buy all my books lately, secondhand off the interwebs. There is a delicious feeling about buying secondhand books (unless they're real old and skanky and have that mouldy thing going down and then I can't read cos I've got a headache). It is like giving them a second chance at life.

This one is inscribed on the inside front cover:
Collette ~ pg. 161 - the risk to bloom - you are taking it and we will all benefit from your tenacity and courage! I love you dearly, Pamela
I always go off on rambling internal ponderings wondering who the people are and what they are doing now. How sweet of Pamela to inscribe her thoughts that way. How mean of Collette to give the book away ;)

Or maybe she didn't give the book away. Maybe something else happened in Collette's life that caused the parting between her and this book. Maybe she died, walking the street, killed by a falling clump of the waste that comes out of airplanes. Or maybe she had a seachange and moved to Botswana to run an orphanage and sold everything, even the book with the beloved inscription from Pamela.

Maybe one day Pamela couldn't help herself and helped herself to Collette's husband. Or maybe Pamela hit on Collette and the friendship ended. Maybe Collette's life spiralled downhill and she died destitute on a chilly Chicago street. Maybe Collette went blind and sold all her books to buy some new braille ones. Maybe Collette met Mark Nepo in the street when he was having a bad day and he yelled at her and she went home and in a fit of pique took The Book of Awakening to the local op shop.

But I don't think so. He seems too nice and kind to do something like that. And why be all mean and snarky thinking of Collette? Why not prefer to think that she has gone off blooming and something nice has happened to her. Maybe she sold everything she owned to part-fund the opening of a florist shop. That would be a cool thing for a tenacious blooming woman to do. Well, okay, maybe not so tenacious. Maybe she sold everything she owned to open a florist shop across the road from a really busy florist shop ... in Mogadishu. Who the hell knows? Maybe she runs a part-time flight school in New Mexico with a bloke called Des and has a family and a cat and a vegetable patch. Maybe Collette has awakened so much that she has been raptured. Or has bloomed right out through the radiance of enlightenment in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal :)

Wherever you are, Collette, here's to ya. And you too, Pamela. I like your taste in books.


  1. No one commented yet?? This is one of my favorite topics. Books - who owned them before me, & why did they discard them? I like reading what someone has highlighted. I always wonder about the inscriptions in the front that are scratched out. You have to spend a little time deciphering, & are surprised to find a tender message.

    As for Collette, I like the flower shop in Mogadishu idea. Still, I think she would have kept that book.

    I bought a little navy blue used volume of the Amplified Bible, a long time ago (new testament). For years, I looked for the rest of the set, and finally found them in a used book store. They were given to "Douglas" in 1968, by his grandparents. I often wonder if he tossed them away, or...what?

  2. Oooh, someone else who enjoys the deliciousness of other people's books :) Yes, it's fascinating, wondering about all those lives tied up in the inside cover.

    I think Collette would have kept that book too despite my cynical posturings :)

    Hmmm, I wonder why Douglas's Amplified Bible turned up in your hands? I wonder the same thing about the "J deBurgh" whose expendaded translation of the NT by Wuest is on my bookshelves. They have put their telephone number in there too ... tempting to ring it :)


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