Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I started a Tumblr some time ago that lay fallow for a long while until I was recently reminded that I had it. I thought about what I would do with it that was different from this blog and my Pinterest page (which I mentioned here). I decided I would start posting the marginalia I found in my books. I have a lot of books, and while marginalia is a bit more rare than you would expect, I have found enough to at least keep the Tumblr going for a little while.

Anyway, some of what I've found has been genuinely intriguing, and worth discussing here at more length. Such as this:

Very sweet. Strangely enough, it was in this book:

I admit I'm a sentimental romantic. I find something like this, and I immediately begin to wonder how things went. Did she wait those two hours, nervously glancing at the door, only to be left alone? Or did he show up, flattered and baffled to have a secret admirer? It is, and will remain, a mystery, and that makes me a little sad. I do hope all turned out well.

Taking such chances requires its own type of courage. Our hearts are fragile things, easily injured. Maybe that's why so many rush into and stay in relationships which, even if they aren't truly bad, aren't causing sparks. The pain of opening oneself up, becoming vulnerable on a regular basis, can be a terrifying prospect, and we yearn for the security of familiar arms where we are safe away from the hunt. That's why I admire when someone does take that leap into the unknown, laying their heart out in the open, awaiting they know not what.

I'm also charmed by the "its the '90s" line. It evokes a frozen moment, a context, a glimpse into a time that, for me, seems so clear and recent, but which the calendar reminds me ended so long ago. So much has happened, so much has changed, the World has spun on in its endless whirl, countless lives have touched upon and parted from countless others...and then this bit of forgotten risk-taking surfaces to make me ponder. Not just upon this unknown person taking a chance, but upon us all, upon my life and the lives that have intersected mine, knowingly and unknowingly. But I also think about now, and the future, and the ceaseless meshing of lives that is going on and will continue on as long as people walk the Earth.

This may all sound melancholy. I can't deny it is, in a sense. Yet, it also elicits a sense of awe in me, a great enveloping sense of wonder at the endless combinations possible in life, but which are all fragile in their connections, ephemeral, and all the more precious because of that. It's the kind of contemplation appropriate for a bitterly cold night, when one is safe and warm with loved ones sleeping near and far, with Tolkien's words on my mind: "I sit beside the fire and think/of all that I have seen..."


  1. Must be the poet in you Jeff.
    I guess I'm just cynical but if I received that note, I would be immediately suspicious. No way would I show up, but I might stake it out. Chick could be a psycho. This stinks of crazy broad tactics. Based on my experience the probability that this would turn into something positive is maybe 10% and that's being generous because it's your blog.

  2. I have to disagree. What I wrote above explains my own outlook, and I'll let it speak for itself.