Stephen, his Pussycat & Michelangelo's PoemsWednesday, November 20, 2019
Because I am a product of that past century (I believe I may have a dozen blogs within my 4886 of them that begin like that) books have been part of my life.
Almost four years ago, faced with around 4000 books and the difficult prospect to moving to a small duplex, I attempted to give away books. The Vancouver Public Library spokespersons told me that they were not a repository of books. Few of my friends were interested. Don Stewart at Macleod Books accepted about 300. A mystery book store in upper Hastings in Burnaby took some 150. I then personally threw into a neighbourhood construction bin 1000 books. In my mind was the memory of Peron’s minions burning books before his fall in 1954.
It was painful, and to make it worse (it helped sink in my melancholy), I threw my Dostoyevsky books (softcovers) while loudly saying in the middle of the night, “Goodbye Dostoyevsky, old friend.”
All this, because it seemed to be less stressful to throw them away than find a home for them.
When we finally moved to our present Kitsilano little house I swore I would never buy any more books. With the exception of a fewer than 10, I have stuck to my guns with new books. With used books it has been a terrible but ultimately pleasant relapse. Don Stewart at Macleod’s has been responsible for many of them. The others come from random searches in wheeled carts with books not wanted by our neighbourhood Vancouver Public Libraries. Neil Young's Waging Heavy Peace ($0.50) is making the rounds of my daughter Ale's community in Lillooet.
Today at a nearby thrift store (a beautifully posh one) called Hob Too on West Broadway I found, Portrait – The Life of Thomas Eakins by William S. McFeely, Madame Valentino –The Many Faces of Natacha Rambowa by Michael Morris and the little slim book featured in today’s blog.
I have chosen my favourite of Michelangelo’s poems which in this case is opposite one of his drawings (with no connection that I can discern to the poem) and I am left with wonder at who was the mysterious Stephen who seemed to have been working in the exclusive London, S.W.1. district and who addresses his equally mysterious Sue as Pussycat in the lovely little card that I found in the book.
My grandmother often told me, “La ignorancia es atrevida,” or, “ignorance is daring.” I must admit that I never heard of Michelangelo’s poems. And that the lovely and challenging introduction by Michael Ayrton is of an English artist I had no prior knowledge of.