The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. ~ Dr. Seuss
I'm old enough -or of such an inclination, perhaps- that books are almost sacred things. I am insulted by the suggestion that I might learn from bouncing powerpoint displays. I can be introduced to something by video -have my interest piqued, perhaps- but to really learn something, I need to read about it. And then, I keep the books in case I need to refer back to them. I have books from my childhood. I have books from high school and college. I have books given to my by earnest boyfriends, inscribed with youthfully (painfully) intellectual declarations of undying love.... I even have a few books that I so inscribed for another person. One doesn't get rid of books. It simply isn't done.
Except of course one does, and it is. As I've said, we're dividing the marital property. Of course, even John Ruskin (surely a bigger book fanatic than I am) agrees that there are books of the moment and books for all time. It hasn't been hard to part with the Physician's Desk Reference from 1982 or the beach-reading books. But, sometimes the weirdest stuff is wrenching. Is this my copy of Thucydides or yours? Who gets the battered copy of The Poky Little Puppy, without which Victoria could not sleep when she was a toddler?
And, oh dear heavens, who gets the photo albums -quite literally the tomes of our lives? Here's the thing. It's written into the settlement that they would be copied, Dave would get the digital copies, and I would get the originals back. We would share the expenses so that we could each have a complete set. Perfectly rational and sensible. I thought I wanted that.
Books are things of incredible power. They can make you laugh and cry. They can blow your head apart by exposing you to new ideas. And they can -apparently- slice your heart right open and leave it bleeding on the floor. I can't look at those books. How far back do I have to go to be sure he wasn't lying then? How can I look at pictures where I was having a good time -and thought he was too- but now know that he was definitely lying?
I have proposed that he take the photo albums. I'll want it in writing that he will preserve them for the children. Perhaps I'll ask that we keep the possibility of digital copying available into the future. But if I know they're safe, I think that's enough for me.
Dr. Suess is certainly right. There's something to be learned from almost any book ("learned", as distinct from "believed" to make a quibbly point). I just don't think I can endure the lessons in these books. I need to keep the covers closed on that record of fractured dreams.
Unless you tell me I'm acting like a deranged person again, that is.