In the past I've never had trouble checking out library books. I've always found my obstacles at the other end of the transaction--the part about getting them returned on time. Lately, though, I find that I'm better about getting the library books deposited in the handy depository established by the public library for the purpose of returning the tomes. The liberation in returning things by the due date has thus far been bracing.
My favorite public library about due dates, by the way, is the Stephens Public Library in tiny Stephens, Arkansas. This small but venerable institution is said to feature a single volunteer librarian, who writes carefully in pencil in the book's "due date" section: "Never".
My wife's late mother, a great reader, followed a simple system to keep up whether she had read a book that interested her at the Johnson County Public Library in Kansas. When she finished a book, she placed a tiny, unobtrusive "x" in pencil inside the book cover. Although I cannot condone this minor bit of book vandalism,
the idea of my mother-in-law's reading list finding eternal life one 'x' at a time pleases me.
Our local library has a "new releases" section, just as, I imagine, most libraries do. I find that I no longer actively "hunt" a book, but instead gravitate to the "new releases" section and pick my favorite among the books there. This method of book selection exposes me to books I might not otherwise seek out, while not quite converting me to some new dogma of eschewing personal preference.
I've nearly finished a new version of a traditional Christmas folk song. I've even taken the unusual step of asking a vocalist I know well if she will sing on the track. If she does not have time, I'll
turn it loose a capella. My song "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", in which the angels are buried in birdsong, often surprises me by getting active play when I check my last.fm statistics.
I stopped in a local music store today called Art and Music, and was delighted to find that Allen finally has a new local instruments and lessons and sheet music place. The somewhat breathless young woman who tried to sell me on the virtue of thirty percent off sheet music had her heart in the right place. I proved immune to her charms, though I did find myself enchanted by one book.
The book which enchanted me was the David Carr Glover Level 3 piano lessons book. I used to love to play songs from that book. It was, I believe, as far as I got in piano lessons, although my memory is that I got to Level 4, the color purple of level 3 seems awfully familiar. I wonder if what I always thought was a Chopin minuet I learned was instead Beethoven's Menuetto. I'll have to see if the old book is still at my father's home and check.
The level 3 purple cover awoke a nostalgia in me for the lost things of childhood. My brother would say, with justice, that such nostalgia comes to me easily and often. I was never any good at piano, but I've enjoyed being able to read music--it's helped me a great deal in my hobby life.
Tomorrow I must rest, because a trip to Detroit last week, coupled with an upcoming trip to Austin, begin to take their toll on me. Only in such times do I feel older than 30.