So after unpacking almost 30 boxes of books and magazines last weekend and rediscovering old memories–including a perfectly decent-looking set of Popular Mechanics’ Do-It-Yourself Encyclopedia printed in 1968 that belonged to my dad–and their counterpart emotions, I’ve now compiled 8 small heaps I’ll be rereading in the coming weeks. Which also means I won’t be throwing them away or selling them. Nope, they belong on my shelves, not because they are mere books (although that alone is usually sufficient and I obviously do not view books as trivial), but because they were responsible for very specific emotions during my youth and I’m just too nostalgic to let go.
Rummaging through these boxes of forgotten books stirred up old memories of a youth spent reading. Many wonderful memories of escaping my mundane life and stark reality to worlds where fantasy and horror collided in awesome sparks. There is sadness also at seeing how time had yellowed the pages and frayed the edges of these books. That unmistakable musky and sweet smell of deteriorated glue and ink and paper only add to the overall sense of farewell to a time long gone.
It’s funny, you know, now that I think about it, but this nostalgic awareness uses all your senses to push through its impact. You can feel, see and smell the course of time, and when you add emotion to it, the loss is suddenly very tangible. I say loss, but maybe I’m being overly dramatic.
These books represent chapters in my life which shaped me one way or another. So, loss, I think, is wrongly used here for I am richer because of these old stories. I am richer because they spoke to me in a myriad of ways that cynical me today wouldn’t recognize.
I may not be able to recapture the innocence of that time for my eyes have seen too much of life to ever return to that uncorrupted state, but I still have memories of unique emotions caused by these books. I can still remember the hues of color each story brought to my life. And that is a grand thing. It’s nostalgia at its purest.
So, with this post, I salute those writers of my youth and I thank them because they taught me the emotional value of words. They showed me the power of my imagination. Lessons that have stayed with me even today, even after the pages they came from had become brittle and withered by the passage of time.