Saturday, January 23, 2010

Paper Anniversary in a Paperless Environment

"Books think for me." -- Charles Lamb

And so I started with Charles Lamb, a year ago, and so, it seems, I will go on. It has been a year since I first came to doing this, here, on my own. A year ago, my feelings hurt, my ego bruised, I left off what I had been doing in this way to some purpose, at least so I thought, and in a fit of pique, I came home and set myself the same task, just to see if I might. And now I have done, and can not seem just yet to stop.

I never imagined I would last the year. Yet, begun in a kind of tantrum, this has become among the most regular aspects of my day. There have been days when I was grateful for it, and for, I suppose then, the fit that started it. There have been hours, often of the wee small variety, when I thought I was a fool to do even the little I have done here. I might better have been reading. I might have been better company to my beloved, A. , or to my friends. And still, instead, I noodled, and sweated, and doodled away...

I confess, I hoped, but I had no confidence that anyone was likely to find me here, or finding me, follow. Friends, I thought, might look in on me, as friends do, but I made no assumption that I might, by this means, make more. I thought I might continue, as I'd started elsewhere, with books, as I number among my books some of my best, and might, by means of these justify myself. I don't know that I have. I certainly have not done justice to them here. But friends, I find, I have still, despite my neglect of them, and more than I imagined.

I thank them all. And you, whoever you might be, new friend or old. It is good to know someone is there.

Meanwhile, tonight I look around me again and find the friends I've quoted here: Lamb and Johnson and Dickens, dozens of times, and dozens if not hundreds of others. The evidence of many acquaintances more recently, if no less happily, made is here as well, as is that of friends I'd forgotten until I had occasion to recall them from the shelves, or my old commonplace book, or some work of reference where I had not thought to look until some night when I was stuck for a thought better than any I found in the small stock I keep. I am grateful for every one I found to put in place of my own. As Lamb said, "books think for me." I can only add to that, that without them I wonder I might think at all.

And finally, I must thank those persons most responsible, not for the bits and pieces of memory, thin imagination and threadbare invention with which I've filled this space or the better stuffs I've used to stitch and patch the gaps between -- the work has been mine and no one to blame but me for its quality -- but rather I here finally thank those party to my departure from writing for that other place. They may or may not have meant me to do any such thing, but in their way, they sent me here, and I am, a year later, glad they did. I wish them nothing but well, truly.


  1. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Used Buyer, Happy Birthday to you! I hope A gives you a spanking and you tell us ALL about it.