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VISION SEEKERS


Vision Seeker
“The Vision Seeker” Molded Plastic, leather, fur, feathers and beadwork by KSR

We are all vision seekers. We seek knowledge of the past; hope for the future. The Native American may have gone into a secret place to commune with the unknown. We go into the world of books.

My passion for books came into being at such an early age that I presumed that it was an intrinsic quality, much like having brown hair. There were no books to read at my grandmother’s house, save her Bible and church literature. When my father was not at sea, his reading matter was far more interesting to me. He was an inveterate reader of fast-paced detective stories, as well as complicated naval manuals.

On the occasions in which I lived with Auntie and Uncle Phil, I headed immediately into their small library, which held all the old books from their daughter’s childhood, as well as reading material of interest to themselves. A small sunroom led off from the library, which formed a secret hiding place for me to sit with a book or two. The two of them had two comfortable chairs in the middle of the living room with table and lamp in between, where they spent their evenings reading before retiring at eight p.m. sharp.

My favorite places in the world are book stores, both new and used. As an only child I lost myself in the life and times of other people and places. Since we moved frequently at the Navy’s behest, books were a familiar and loved escape. The direction to the local library always came shortly after we settled into the new place, and a library card of your own was a treasured possession.

The delight of used bookstores came much later. Sadly there aren’t a lot of them around anymore, and the large chain bookstores seem to have disappeared with the advent of e-books. Fortunately internet shopping and the Half Price Book chain give us access to the world of books both old and new. There is something quite special about rummaging about in an old book store. There is always the possibility of finding something rare, or of finding a long-searched for book you can’t live without.

Both San Francisco and Seattle once had large old bookstores which carried not only books but old maps and prints. Dr. Advice once felt terribly proud to bring me a complete set of Dickens as a birthday gift. My granddaughter, an inveterate reader, shares my love of books, and I know I can always find something in an old bookstore she will love as well as I do.

There are so many people reading on their Kindle or computer these days, and Amazon and other companies make it simple for them to download a book immediately. Personally I would miss the feel and the smell of a book, plus the pleasure of passing it along to someone else. Browsing through friend’s homes to see what they keep on their bookshelves becomes another way to know them. I have one friend who scours thrift stores for old cookbooks. My home bookshelves are crowded with all sorts of books and we have shelves in every room in the house including bookshelves in the garage. A friend of my daughter looked around once and asked shat we did with all of them. “We read them of course”, I said, and them read the very good ones over again.

Dr. Advice had a knee replacement a decade ago, and since he only read the newspaper sports news up until that time, I wondered what he would do with all the long hours long during his recovery. The TV offerings can’t keep people fascinated for very long. I suggested he take up reading, and now he is never without a book in his hand. Louie Lamour, the author of many Western style books, was self-educated, and it is said he always had a book in his pocket. I have a number of friends I know to be great readers, and a normal greeting would be “What are you reading?”

Part of the excitement of an old bookstore is the smell which seems to have been absorbed into the woodwork. A combination of old paper, ink, and probably a lot of dust. A friend once stood in the doorway of my living room and announced that she “loved the smell” of it. It is a room we seldom use, and has the usual wall overflowing bookshelves. I asked her if she thought it might be like the smell of an old bookstore, and she went through a “Eureka!” moment before saying “That’s it!”

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13 comments on “VISION SEEKERS

  1. Some forty years ago I was in the attic of a very run-down bookshop and saw pages of a book scattered about. Nearby was a grossly dilapidated cover with the words Poe’s Poetical Works In gold lettering.

    An admirer of Poe, I gathered all the bits together and bought the bundle for a few pence. On returning home, I was delighted to discover that the book was complete and contained beautiful black and white illustrations. It turned out to be the 1870 edition of Poe’s Poetical Works by the publishers Ward, Lock & Co of London. It contains Poe’s essay on the Philosophy of Composition and other marvellous material.

    The volume is still in pieces but has given me immeasurable pleasure over the years.

    I relish the thought of your home filled with books.

    Your sculpture captures exactly the spirit of the visionary, those rare human beings who see far and beyond. Poe was a visionary.

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    • What an exciting find! They are the best kind. My aunt was a collector of old books, some of which were first editions. London seemed to be her best hunting ground. My Poe is a poor modern substitute. I’m envious of the fun you must have outing yours back together.

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  2. Dear Aunt Kayti,
    On this, your 8_ birthday, I want to wish you all the best. As I have shared with you before, you are the role model for aging gracefully, without drama, without complaint. I have spent a great deal of time thinking about how you have lived your life. I am taking notes, as you know. Enjoy your family. Much love, Cheri

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  3. Oh, my! You’ve had a birthday! Well, as I like to say, no greeting for such a day ever is too early or too late, unless one misses by a month. I think we should have birthday seasons, like the Easter or Christmas seasons. I trust your celebration was just right.

    There’s no mistaking that “book smell”. I love it not only in bookstores, but in libraries, too. I still remember with fondness a certain carrel on the 3rd floor of the library at the University of Iowa. I can’t remember which section it was in, but no one ever came there, and if you weren’t engrossed in study or napping, you could watch dust motes in the sunlight.

    I just received a treasure of a book for some research on a Kansas post. What’s important about it is that it has an onion skin dust jacket, and some uncut pages! Who even knows what a book knife is, these days? I suppose I’ll have to use a letter opener or kitchen knife if I cut the pages — but since the essay I need is already cut, I may just leave the rest.

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    • Thanks Linda. I agree, if birthdays all came together as a season, we would naever miss one and just have to send an open birthday greeting to everyone.
      I’m looking forward to seeing what you write on Kansas. What a treasure of a book you have acquired! Just think, an onion skin dust jacket. I haven’t seen one for years. The powers which be probably think a book knife is too dangerous for people to have around the house. You will have such pleasure with it. I am envious.

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  4. A Happy Birthday for yesterday, Kayti, and for every day of the year. Everything Ladybugg says is so recognisably true, even in this cramped, distorting medium.

    Thank you for all the visual and verbal pleasure and stimulation you give through this blog and for the unselfish life you lead.

    It is, alas, too late for me thus to age gracefully.

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    • Thank you Richard. Ladybugg is too kind, as are you. It would seem to me that you are aging like the soul of grace. I think of you as the perfect English gentleman! I shall write a blog abut my birthday. It was not as I had planned. Instead, I was entertained by the local Emergency Ward. More later. However, I emerged the next day as my usual self–good or bad!

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  5. I am wild with anxiety.

    Were you the victim of an accident, or visiting someome who was but demanded your counsel?

    Was there some natural disaster – a flood, a dust storm, an avalanche from which, through the application of your wit and courage, you were able to escape the worst consequences but had to accompany the souls you saved as their broken limbs and spirits were repaired?

    Did you act as vital intermediary between the Paleface and and the Indian nations but not without near-mortal risk to yourself? Was there blood-letting?

    Were you almost suffocated by the great mass of those who wished to hug and kiss you on your birthday? (Was a tipple too many perhaps pressed upon you which you were unable to decline for fear of upsetting the donor?)

    Did you mistake that glass of linseed oil for a gin and tonic, or burnt umber for some chocolate confection, or quarrying that special piece of marble, or did you lick a pen one time too many as you wrote?

    Had someone failed to screw a bookcase to the wall?

    Were you simply invited to a surprise celebration in your honour at the local hospital?

    Or were there just too many questions from admirers wanting to know for sure that all remains well?

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  6. I’m glad none of the above happened to symbolize any coming birthdays I may have, but sorry I missed out on the gin and tonic and chocolate. Fortunately none of the natural disasters occurred to affect the population. That would have soured my attitude and given me a gigantic guilt complex. The simple answer is that after dining at a very lovely out-of-town restaurant and enjoying a lovely lunch of crab cakes, one of my daughters and I walked outside and I, feeling that I was not getting enough attention, promptly fell to the ground in a dead faint. The Paramedics called it a “sinking episode”. I guess that is because you sink to the ground, not into a tub of water. They whisked me off to the local ER (not my own and would not even put on the bells and whistles,) where I lounged about until the next afternoon. being pricked full of holes and fed much new blood. To make matters worse, the crab cakes were better than my own.

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  7. Happy birthday for the 2nd, Kayti! Commiserations on the sinking episode. I had one too a few weeks ago and they’re disconcerting. xx

    The versatility and range of your art is remarkable. The Native American man is compelling.

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  8. Thank you for your birthday greetings. Spending two days in the Emergency Room was a first, and hopefully never to be repeated. Glad you are OK as well.

    The Native American man was an interesting outgrowth of a series of Father Christmases in its construction. The face and hands are made of a moldable plastic .from Germany. Finding the leather, sewing the beadwork, and making the various appendages on his clothes was great fun. The feathers were found on a roadkill we had passed and I made Dr. Advice turn around on the freeway and go back thinking it was a rare avian creature. When we got there and I hopped out of the car, I found it was only a common mallard duck. But a fun story to attach. Glad you liked it.

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  9. I’m with you on the subject of books, Kayti. That sunroom next to the library sounds very inviting. I have often wondered how people who don’t read manage to get through life.

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