I recently got assigned Beloved, a book by Toni Morrison, to read in college. It’s an older book, one that I’d claimed was my favorite book even though I’d only really kind of read it before. This is my Beloved book review.
[Today I sit in a different place.] The librarian, he makes a face. Shoes wet from the walk over the morning dew, they gish and shwish under my legs and the sun comes through. He smiles. I nod. TEEN TURF, a sign says. Should I move or not? “Restless leg syndrome”, I say. Come here often, his eyes almost say. He knows I do, for the last few weeks anyway.
An old woman concerned about her books. “Oh, oh dear!” She sounds like someone I used to hear, at school maybe, at Wal-Mart, or perhaps the park. He helps her, a gentle voice, deeper than his youth allows. Bald, I thought by choice, but maybe not. I move my foot, squish. Did he hear? Maybe I’ll just stay right near. I need new shoes; that much is clear. He tells a story to the woman, chuckles, puts his hand behind the desk, like it’s resting on his belt buckle. Acts it, but he’s not from here. “Have a good day,” he says as I leave. GISH SHWISH he hears.
Maybe it’s coffee.
Reading library’s copy of The German Woman by Paul Griner. Coffee or shit stain on the sides of the pages? Discuss. pic.twitter.com/oTM9mZP08h
— Eric Howard (@EricIntroverted) June 3, 2015
Maybe it’s chocolate.
Reading library's copy of Fall Of Giants by Ken Follett. I wonder, chocolate or poop stain on page 11? Discuss. pic.twitter.com/MbAiW5jE3L
— Eric Howard (@EricIntroverted) June 3, 2015
But it’s probably shit. People read on the toilet. I know this. I think I even accept this. Gross.
But maybe it is just food or mud or wet paper rust that no one wants to discuss.
I walked to the DOER spines. For “All The Light We Cannot See”.
There was only “About Grace” on the shelf. I took one of three.
Maroon sheets, queen, wooly blanket, double, two black pillows, lying,
Holding words from the building past the fort.
On chapter five, though it didn’t feel right, only thirteen pages, light.
I decided that I would take the book back tonight.
I put on my jeans. Coffee before I go. Book, front and back flat
On the table. Sugar in my cup. Waiting to cover with cream, the black.
I read while the drink was spat, Chapter 6, 7, Part Two, Three.
Dreams. I was taught they had no credibility.
My coffee is cold,
The touch of the pages, old.
Anthony, your story of water and ice, elements of me,
I didn’t intend for it so. Take it back, now, please, please, please.
While I dump
The coffee down the drain and make new, and read the rest of you.
Doerr, Anthony. About Grace. Scribner. New York: 2004.
I just wanted to go to the library to see if I had any ten-year old library fines from my immature adolescent days. I got halfway there, right past the James Harrod Conference Center. That building was the only part of town that reminded me of Old Louisville, and I couldn’t even really tell you why. And then it started to rain. I ran back. I was lucky I didn’t have my laptop with me.
The next day I remembered the concept of a library and wanted to go again, but I couldn’t open the front door because apparently there was a dangerous man outside, honking his horn, hours and hours. I was surprised no one else called the cops on his ass.
On the third day, I walked to the red-bricked library. I walked up to the desk and over-explained that I was a college student at UofL, and that I was back in Harrodsburg for the summer, and that I used to have a card but I lost it, and I needed to know how much a new card was, and if I had any fees on my account, because I was a teenager once. The short-haired lady, pretty, older, bigger, looked up my name, Eric Howard, I said. Nada. New card. No fees. What is this magic?, I thought. She said “we’ve never had a college student come back, let me find out what to do.” I waited for ten minutes and then I gave her my UofL address and my temporary Harrodsburg address and got a Joyce Carol Oates book, The Accursed.
I had my laptop with me when I took the book back the next day; it was sunny outside. I only read the first chapter of the book. I’m like that with novels. That’s probably why I have a hard time writing one. I got three more books and then I sat down at the table opposite the sign, SILENCE OR ELSE, and pulled up my laptop screen. I was the weird bearded guy in the library for an hour or so while I checked my email, my fiction submissions, my Twitter. I heard a loud truck taking a shit outside, and then I realized that it was thunder. Water gushed down onto the street outside, and I texted my mom for some reason, which was stupid because she doesn’t have a vehicle, and neither do I — I can’t drive because I can’t see out the sides of my eyes — and so I called my cousin. I decided that I’d just sit and wait it out. At least the library had wifi.
I’m back at the library. Or I’m still here. I can’t remember.