We are now going to wrap up Writing 101: Building a Blogging Habit. I immensely enjoyed this course and I think it really helped. I looked forward to going home to sit in front of my laptop and check out the new challenges. What will happen to this blog after the course? You’ll definitely miss the crazy bookish ramblings that were inspired by the not entirely bookish challenges. But you’ll see more book reviews, which is something that I terribly miss writing. I intend to focus on my review back log in the upcoming months.
The final challenge asks us to do this:
Tell us the story of your most-prized possession.
Today’s twist: We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to longform writing. Let’s celebrate the drawn-out, slowly cooked, wide-shot narrative.
It’s not an entirely subconscious decision although I admit that books had this irresistible charm for me. You’ve probably read in my past posts how my childhood was with regard to books. Anyway, in high school, I hung around the high school library during my break times instead of mingling with my classmates. I liked walking around the cramped spaces between the shelves and reading the titles that jumped from the spines. I picked titles that caught my interest and read random pages. I borrowed books every week. I actually didn’t read them. Silly, I know, but I just liked having a borrowed library book in my bag.
Tales with the Librarian
I became friends with the librarian. She must have been in her mid 20s during that time when my face was encrusted with zits. She asked for my help to organize the Junior Librarians’ Club. She made sure that I will be elected among the officers. I became the treasurer. We organized field trips to libraries of different high schools and interacted with their library clubs, if any. We asked members to be student aides of our library at least once a month. We were a small but thriving club, and when our number started to grow, I decided that I wanted to be a reader. A real reader.
This decision coincided with the time I finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. What beauty! What wonder! What books should I read next to give me these visions and feelings? I stayed longer hours at the library. I went there immediately after my last class and read at a corner until our librarian told me to pack up. We would sometimes walk together until the gate. Sometimes, she would buy me a banana cue. I think I may have had a crush on her.
But that is entirely beside the point. I was happy that I was actually reading the books that I borrowed. I didn’t incur penalties for overdue books because our librarian saw that I was really reading. I am a slow reader, you see, owing to the intrusive narrator in my head, but I no longer mind that narrator now.
There came a time when I didn’t want to borrow books anymore, and that’s because I wanted to own the books that I read. I grew up in a town where there was no decent book store during the late 90s. The books available were limited to romance bestsellers. I bought some titles with what money I could save from my allowance.
I wish I remember the first book that I bought with my own money, but as one book became two books and these two became the foundation of a book stack, I couldn’t suppress the happiness that I felt by merely looking at them. I always told myself, someday, I will have more. Someday, I will have a shelf. Someday, I will have a library.
These fantasies were not immediately fulfilled because as a student who was entirely dependent to low-income parents, my bookish whims could not be instantly granted. When shopping malls with decent book stores started to be erected in our town, I was ecstatic. One of those book stores that opened was Book Sale. It is a secondhand book store that would thrill any book hunter. One has to dig through its bins and stacks in the hopes of finding a treasure. It really is book hunting.
Thanks to Book Sale, my meager allowance allowed me to eat at school, buy any school requirements, and buy books. At the end of one semester, I have amassed a tall stack of books. It wouldn’t stop growing. An additional stack sprouted. I couldn’t catch up with my reading, what with my studies and all that jazz, but it was a happy problem.
After I finished school and lived independently, I still continued to visit any Book Sale branch that I would come across my way. I also started buying brand new books without having to worry that my allowance wouldn’t be enough. I’ve been buying so many books that I forgot to buy clothes and shoes and, sometimes although rarely, food. There was a time when my stacks of books collapsed on me while I was sleeping. That was a problem.
I was reluctant to buy a book shelf because I move around a lot. But what if my books fall all over me again? What if it becomes lethal? So I bought a book shelf. The second someday that I was telling myself when I was younger became true out of necessity.
I may need a new book shelf if I continuously hoard. I still buy books and I always will, so long as I have money and so long as I can go to a book store, but I don’t hoard as aggressively as I did before. I don’t think I should worry about another book shelf. My book shelf is serving me well. It keeps my books organized, sort of, and it houses my most prized possessions.
Without my books, there would probably be no Book Rhapsody. I’d probably be blogging about something else, that’s for sure, but thank heavens that I am a book blogger. This blog documents the lives of my books, and writing their biographies is something that I would like to do for a long, long time. That’s how much I value my possessions. I’d read them and squeeze my brains to write about them. My life may get in the way, but hey, I made it. I am still here.
I have a hundred lives waiting to be written, and hundreds more waiting to be discovered. They are all here, in my library. Yes, the final someday has become a reality. It has long become a reality. My younger self didn’t realize that my library sighed its first breath with that first book.