Thursday, November 13, 2014

School book fair shows books far from dead

Here's the shoulder-to-shoulder scene at the recent sale in our neighborhood school. The kids came in jostling and shouting, then settled in to flip and browse pages even while they were buffeted by the book-loving crowd. Long live book lovers, long live books.

The sale last week at the Northeast Community Center also went well. I love watching people meet Japanese chiyogami paper for the first time and experience the tactile joy that comes from making contact with something—say, a handbound portfolio or archival clamshell box—made to last so long it easily becomes an heirloom. One customer explained his purchase thus: "I have to get this because every time I see it it'll make me smile." It makes me smile, too, thinking how the happiness multiplies.

This week I delivered a long-planned commission, which commemorates a life cut short. Hopefully the stories inside—wrapped in life-affirming colors—offer solace and enduring memories.