Confessions of a Bibliophile



Isn’t the word ‘bibliophile’ fun? It sounds like someone who gets pervy with books. And, ahem, I’m sure there are some people who might do that (coughweirdoscough) and there certainly are books that are pervy (that’s another topic altogether), but a bibliophile is simply a lover of books.

I love books. I love a good story, yes. I am a storyteller and a story-lover. But, I just love books. The very bookiness of them. The smell, the feel, the taste (yes, books have a taste – not that I lick them (that would be pervy!) – but when something has a smell, sometimes you “taste” it on your tongue), the sound of pages turning, the beauty of lovely illustrations on quality paper and the look of a great cover: books are a visceral experience. I am all about the story but, for me, the package matters. Therefore, I have not yet embraced or experienced the appeal of cold, hard, sterile, fragrance and taste-free e-readers.

Now, I have heard all the arguments from space-saving to tree-saving. None of these arguments sway me. There is only one argument that has a chance to: the stories themselves.

I am now finding that some stories that I might like to read – intriguing tales written by some very talented authors – are ONLY available as e-books. This frustrates me.  I would like to read these stories. I search for a hardcopy version, only to find out none exist.

Every fibre in my book-loving being is screaming, “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” I find myself wanting to shake these authors by the neck and say, “WHY? Your story looks like a really good one! Why wouldn’t you lovingly place it on real, turn-able, taste-able pages for me?” I walk away in disgust. But, in so doing, am I being a hypocrite?

Yes, I said hypocrite. Am I being one? After all, I know of plenty of people (myself included) who aren’t so keen on downloading MP3 music. They, like I, would prefer a physical album they can hold in their hands (as well as listen to with their ears). Here I am, asking these people to download my album and single (psst, hey you, have you checked them out yet?)! I have my music up for sale – for download – as MP3s. Why? Because I cannot afford the cost of producing a physical CD. I have had no other recourse to get my music out to the world. And, really, I am grateful that I have this option. It was that, or nothing at all.

Now, will some people miss out on my music because they flat out refuse to embrace the e-generation as pertains to music? The answer is, of course, yes. And, how many good stories and good authors will I miss out on if I don’t break down and get a Kindle? I know that a lot of the e-books out there are from best-selling authors whose work graces my very real book-shelves, and the reason they have chosen to release e-books is to appeal to the Kindleophiles (that sounds a lot worse than bibliophile ever did). On the other hand, there are quite a few independent authors for which – like me and my MP3 albums – this is their only chance to be heard! As an independent music artist, I am asking people to hear me. These independent authors are asking me to read them. So, here’s confession #1: I want to read them!

Confession #2: I don’t want to miss out on the stories from authors I already love, simply because they choose to release a story ONLY as an e-book. Yeah, do I wish they’d offer both? Am I even sure why already successful best-selling authors sell stories which are exclusively downloads and not also available as a traditional pager-turner? Nope, not sure… but, whatever the reason, I still don’t want to miss out on the story.

So, yeah, I get it now. Someone want to buy me a Kindle?



The fine print:

For those of you who are curious, the book pictured with me at the top of the page is my all-time favourite book, ‘Till We Have Faces’, by C.S. Lewis. Delicious.


I Begin Again…


The day started out as my weekdays normally do. The awareness that I am awake – no longer in that safe sleep place – like razors in my brain. Every cell screams, “I DON’T WANT TO GET UP!” My Beautiful Man (that’s “husband” for those who need clarification) brings me a cup of coffee, sing-songing his refrain, “Wake up juice…Juice, wake up!” And, I groan and smile up at him as I force my eyes to open, forcing myself to face the morning, however benign or hostile it may be. “God, help me…again”, I breathe. My Beautiful Man sits with me and holds me for too short a time (forever would be too short a time) before he must go to work. But, because he shows such selfless love for me in getting up early to get the kids ready before he wakes me, I am helped beyond measure. I would not be able to do any of this without him. He goes. And, it begins. Oh, how I love them, but sometimes I cannot stand them. If you are an honest parent you will be identifying with me right now. If you are a self-righteous parent you will be condemning me right now. Go read another blog. I ain’t sugar-coating anything today.

They whine, they fight with each other, they throw ear-splitting and heart-crushing tantrums. Some days are better than others. Today, however, was not one of the good ones. We are late on our school run and by the time we have made it there and I have dropped them off, I am feeling demoralized and defeated.

There are days when I would be sobbing by this point. I would stumble home in floods of tears and incoherent sorrow-filled moans to sit in a corner, hiding – or trying to hide – from it all.  Those are my bad days. Depression is a funny old beast (ironically enough). Fortunately, I do have days – like this one – when I am naturally emotionally detached. The stressors come and instead of dissolving in a puddle, as I might do in a day or two, I kind of shrug and grunt and shift to “somewhere else”. There will be people who understand this. If you don’t, don’t worry about it. Just keep reading. I am taking you somewhere, I promise.

Upon walking home, I realised the mildness of the day. Very mild for this time of year.  I decided to go for a walk down by the canal because I simply didn’t want to be sitting, stagnant, indoors yet. As I began my walk, I was simply going through the motions, one foot in front of the other, automatically, robotically. Then, the shape and colour of the leaves began to catch my attention and I stopped to look. My eyes had been open the whole time, of course, but now I was seeing. Colour and texture. Beauty. Many ducks and swans were upon the water, taking their morning constitutional. And, I walked along with them as they swam, enjoying the freedom of movement in the fresh air.  I sensed God’s nearness: the glory and beauty of this mild autumnal day testifying to His glory and beauty. I said “Thank You” and spent time praying for eyes that really see and freedom from the dullness that can so easily happen in the day-in/day-out mundaneness of life and responsibility. God met with me there, by the canal, and we fellowshipped. I felt like I had begun the day again.  Fresh. His mercies are new (see Lamentations 3:22-23). Without even thinking about it, I started to sing my song “Gloriously Autumnal” – singing it for myself. I mean, I wrote it for myself when I wrote it. But, once you write – and then, subsequently, record – a song, it takes on a life of its own. It’s no longer soley yours. But, in this moment, the song was privately and intimately mine again, as much so as the day the words and melody poured so passionately forth from me to the paper. I experienced a grace-moment, and I was “carried away”, just as the song says.

So, I will leave you with two songs from my new album – not (only) in the hopes that you will buy the album (yes, please) – but in prayer that, in them, you too, will find a grace-moment in the midst of whatever you are facing today. Open your eyes. “Everything is old and new. I begin again, and end with you…”