When most people speak of inspiration they soak up from books, they’re refering to the imagery that plays out in their imagination as the plot runs its course, or the bits of wisdom they get from great thinkers that help us see our own lives through a much clearer lens.
We all get that. But I get another type of inspiration from my books. Sometimes it almost falls right out of the book into my lap or onto the floor. That is, those magic little slips of paper—card stock, magazine clippings, napkins, travel tickets, or hand written notes—we use to mark our pages in a moment of unplanned-for-page-marking-emergency, when no rightful bookmark is to be found.
I very often open a volume that’s been sitting on my shelf for a while and delight to find some old scrap that reminds me of precisely where I was in my life when I first picked up the book, who I was, and what I was looking for. These magic little slips of paper seem to bond with the books themselves and tell their own story, a very personal story, about the reader.
Here is my story in so many out of context words on a page, in the bookmarks that marked those pages, and the books themselves.