Cee’s Question: Are you a collector of anything?

Books. Books, especially old books, have been my thing for as long as I can remember. There was a time when I couldn’t bear to part with any book I’d read, or bought–whether from a bookstore or a garage sale–with the intention of reading, someday. 

However, since books require bookcases, or at least some floor space, a few years ago I did start winnowing my collection, beginning with old college textbooks and paperback fiction. And no, I didn’t toss them in the trash or recycle them, since another thing I can’t bear is to see a book destroyed. Instead, I donated them to local thrift shops, used book stores, hospitals, etc.

I also set a few rules: no more bookcases, use the library for books I want to read but may not want to keep (mostly popular fiction), use the Kindle program on my laptop for reference books, and no more hardcover books. (This last one has been the hardest to keep because when a new book comes out that I’ve been anticipating, I hate waiting a year for the paperback version.)

My abiding weakness remains old books, and I blame my maternal grandmother and paternal great-grandmother for this, as they each gave me a very old book when I was a child. My maternal grandmother gave me a collection of children’s poetry published in 1898 (I think–sudden senior moment), and my paternal great-grandmother gave me a collection of poetry and prose for the young, published in 1894. I still have both books. When I was in elementary school, my grandmother’s book was my favorite. The Village Blacksmith, The Charge of the Light Brigade, and The Wreck of the Hesperus remain some of my favorite poems, but it was the Robert Louis Stevenson poems that I loved best as a child–I read My Shadow so many times I memorized it, and to this day can still recite it.

As a teen, I preferred my great-grandmother’s book. The writings were darker, and definitely more adult, (it’s amazing what people once considered appropriate for young adults) and included some intense reading like bits of Greek mythology (Charon and the River Styx), Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece, and Julius Caesar, and excerpts from works like Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Boccaccio’s The Decameron. However, my favorite thing about the book were the pages of quotes interspersed throughout, and arranged alphabetically according to the subject of the quote. So, beginning with A, that page had quotes about Anger, Ambition, Avarice, etc. A quote on Character from the C page remains one of my favorites: “You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.” (James A. Froude)

And, now that I think about it, I do have one other collection: quotes. I’ve been collecting quotes since high school, first in spiral notebooks, dairies, and journals, and now in Word files where I can keep them by the hundreds, organized by subject and/or author, of course. I think I can blame–or credit–my great-grandmother for this, also.

Cee’s Question: What’s your biggest fear or phobia?

Having nothing to read? (Okay, just joking. But, I do dread long waits with nothing to read, no way to write, no camera, or no needlework to keep me entertained. I do like some television, but only when I have other choices; when it’s the only option for diversion, it makes me restless.)

I don’t think I have any real, clinical phobias, as in an irrational fear that results in panic attacks or extreme measures to avoid the cause of the fear.  Like most people, I have a rational, healthy fear of (meaning respect for) most dangerous animals, meaning anything with fangs and/or big teeth, and/or claws, that can move faster than I can. While I have no doubt that an encounter with a rat, snake, bear, mountain lion, alligator, shark, etc. would be terrifying, I’ve never avoided places or activities where they might be. I continue to live in bear, mountain lion, and moose country; I’ve camped and hiked in the forest and gone swimming in the ocean.

As a child I was afraid of being in the middle of large crowds, and of being suspended in the air (the Ferris wheel wasn’t my favorite ride, although I didn’t fear heights and loved being in an airplane). I’m still a little uncomfortable in big crowds, but completely overcame my fear of being suspended when I decided to learn to ski.

I guess my biggest fear now is feeling alone and helpless, like being lost and injured, or in an unexpectedly dangerous situation, like a car accident, or earthquake. And, I don’t even want to think about this anymore.

Cee’s Question: Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational books?

As can be guessed from my answer to the first question, I read everything, and have no particular preference. It might be easier to identify the books I generally don’t prefer: celebrity biographies and celebrity memoirs/autobiographies; formula romance, endless series, regardless of the genre (they remind me of soap operas), and auto repair manuals.

Cee’s Question: Complete this sentence: If I Must Be Reincarnated, In the Next Life I Want to Be . . .

A dancer and singer. Actually, I wanted to be a dancer and singer in this life, but it wasn’t meant to be this time around (no money for dance lessons when I was young and I can’t carry a tune), so I’m hoping for better luck next time.

Cee’s Bonus Question: What are you grateful for from last week and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for car mechanics, and that the repair my car required was at least quick, if not cheap. (And, from the week before, I’m very grateful for my son, for once again coming to my rescue when my car broke down.) I’m also grateful for the afternoon at the pool with my grandsons. As for this week, what I was looking forward to most has already started–two days off, together. And, I’m looking forward to continued beautiful mornings, and having coffee on the deck, and breathtaking sunsets while I have a glass of wine . . . on the deck.