From home I brought books. I sold off many others to make shelf-room, and even my Arden Shakespeares, and even The Canterbury Tales which I didn’t like but might need as an English major, and even a Calvino (but I kept Henry Miller to keep Anais company, third shelf down).
From home I brought Peter S. Beagle, and even Patricia McKillip, and even Terry Pratchett, and even, yes, say it, Charles DeLint. From the store I got Margaret Mahy and E. Nesbit.
Four — five? — years ago I lost all my hair, went to New York, and was tongue tied (literally, pierced by a steel shaft and infected and liquid dieting, and cold-headed too with no head-hair) by the books on Ktv’s shelf. There she was, prestigiously Columbian and her mantle covered in classics, also cockroaches, and I thought I had better revamp my bookshelves stat, except the cockroaches. I bought all the things I knew one ought to read and many of them I did read, too, but some have been on my not-yet shelf for years now. I packed most of the fantasy and sci-fi and so on away.
Suddenly there has been, book-wise, a reversion in the brain, a return to fantasy and what Mrs. Butler called “beach reads,” and between you and me I blame the hair. Here it is again, as long as my sophomore or junior year of high school when I used to view all the assigned reading with suspicion and made sure to see the movie first. Maybe it’s time to embrace that old me, snarl-headed and flighty as she was. I still have the bike-chain bracelet, though the long black trenchcoat and the kazoo (which for a solid year I carried around, linty and irritating and why on earth?) have disappeared. I could revert to my old walk, too, sort of a loping stalk more elastic than whatever I’ve got going now. Already I have hour-long phone conversations with Michele every day. Already I live on a diet of bread and cheese again. Already I’m dating my high-school boyfriend. How far do we really go, when we set out to go so awfully far?
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