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Not long after I broke my arm last year I got a text from someone I’d started talking to when I met the Vanishing Act. Between the boredom and the Dilauded, we struck up a pretty good conversation, and eventually agreed to meet.  I was still a little hesitant and hurt, so we took it slow, but he was so enthusiastic that I let myself get comfortable.

On our first date he wore a bow tie, not for me, but because he wore one every Friday.  He was adorable, he was funny, and he was candid.  I felt immediately comfortable, and even after our date ended up just being dinner and a walk around the mall, I enjoyed being with him.  He brought me home, waited for Hubby, and the two of them hit it off like old friends.  That night I did something I never do.  I made a move and kissed him first.  It surprised us both, but he talked about it for a week.  Our second date was equally as relaxed.  We went on a hike, had lunch by a pond, and took a nap in each other’s arms.

Through it all we talked and shared our mutual geekery, but after our third date or so something changed. When he talked he sounded worried that I’d leave.  I tried to assure him I would not.  All I asked for is the same thing I always ask for, honesty.  I promised him the same.  Even so, our meetings got farther apart.  Then our communication got spotty, so I did what I always do, I tried to talk to him about it.

What I got from the conversation was his refusal to give me any priority in his life.  None.  I don’t consider myself an extremely needy girl, but once in a while I like to know I rank higher than a TV show.  I had known he was a bit self-centered, and I had accepted that, but was I asking too much.  Of course I convinced myself that I was.  I apologized and asked him to make an effort, sure if I voiced my needs again that he would disappear on me.  He even appeared to have taken it to heart.  I got one really good date after that where I almost felt like I could tell him I had started to love him.  I didn’t.  Something inside me said not to.  Something inside me knew I was trying to justify behaviour that I wouldn’t have accepted from anyone, that one night didn’t make everything right.

I grappled with this for a month while I was on a trip to Boston.  During that trip he called me, we texted, and things seemed to be heading in the right direction.   He even said he missed me once, and the part of me that needed to believe it acted like he’d written it in the sky above my head.  We made plans to spend a day together when I got home, and I felt like it was going to be the beginning of something new.

When that day came I waited patiently for him to let me know he was on his way, but he never did. When I finally heard from him he told me he’d spent the day with his ex-girlfriend.  In the texts that followed I tried to explain to him that I was more upset about not even getting a phone call than about getting blown off.  He told me how much he loved her, that an opportunity had come up, and turned my words around to make me look ugly and vindictive after I tried to tell him how I felt about him.  He never realized I’d told him I loved him twice, because he turned it around every time to make the conversation about himself.

It was at that moment that I realized that he was right, I would never warrant a place of any priority in his life.  I had given him the power to step on me.  I had held on to something that looked good on paper to the detriment of my own needs and desires.  I had let him make me feel fat every time he called himself a “chubby chaser” to my face.  I had let him make me feel stupid every time he reminded me of his IQ.  I had let him make me feel inferior by accepting a relationship where he was unwilling to give me a place in his life by allowing him to change plans when something better came up and accepting the excuse that too many other girls had taken him for granted.

The lesson I learned from James was to have some cojones.   I know what I want.  I know what I need.  What I didn’t know is how important it is for me to be able to stand up and either make those things happen or find somewhere where they can. No, it wasn’t his obligation to make me a space in his life if it’s not what felt right, but it also wasn’t mine to stand around and accept that he was the best I would get.  After that text conversation where I couldn’t even convince him that the decent thing would have been to call me to let me know he wasn’t coming over, we never spoke again.  I left that with no closure, feeling unsure about myself or how I handled new relationships.  It would be four months before I’d even let myself think about a date with someone new, even longer before I could accept a compliment without steeling myself inside for the backhanded insult.

I know now that this was a test to see how far I had come from the debilitating lack of self-esteem I had developed as a child.  I thought I had accepted my body and my personality as beautiful parts of my self, but I had only gotten really good at tolerating it.  This was the step I needed to really let it all go, and once I realized how much I had let this kid inside my head, how I had let him crush my spirit, and how little he deserved that power I was able to begin rebuilding the damage that had begun with the Vanishing Act.

No, I haven’t changed.  I’ve just stopped letting anyone else decide who I get to be.

Go now, be yourself.  You’re all you’ve got.

Aloha

Part of this year's twenty. Geez, I'm getting old.

At 10 years  old I was already painfully aware that I was different.  I had braces, wore glasses, and was already an outcast.  At 13 I had lost my mother and was frantically trying to form an identity that wasn’t awkward.  I was completely lost.  With very few female role models in my life, my teenage years were a mix of trial and error and what knowledge I could glean from friends who hadn’t figured it out any more than I had.  At 18 I had just had my first kiss and was beginning to become the person I am today.  I just didn’t know it yet, and I fought against it for many years.  At 20 I had my first serious relationship, but I still struggled with the person I was and how I behaved with those I loved.  I had left school and had had some pretty deep scars to begin to heal.  By 25 I had made some drastic changes in my life.  I had begun to embrace all the aspects of myself, but I had only just begun.  I fluctuated wildly between self loathing and self empowerment, and I constantly questioned whether or not the one person who said he loved me, desired me, and accepted me for all of who I was could be trusted.  I was just beginning my battle with Fibromyalgia, and I constantly struggled with depression.  I had a very long road ahead of me.  My childhood and the bullying I had received from all sides about my weight, my personality, my mental and physical health issues, and my past mistakes had done a lot of damage.  I was still very broken.

But here I am having completely neglected any good that has happened in my life.  I have had a family who loves me even if he don’t always understand me or my decisions.  Though she passed just as I was coming into my own and forming a more mature mother-daughter relationship, I had a fantastic role model and inspiration in my mother.  I may have only had a handful of friends, but they were some of the best friends I could have ever asked for and the reason I pulled though so many rough patches.  At 19 I was a member of an art gallery and on my way to running poetry readings and open mics.  Albeit on a very small scale, I was living my dreams.  I have had amazing jobs at portrait studios, the zoo, and now at an airline working fantastic people every day.  I have thrived despite my medical issues and come out stronger.  I have built an amazing tribe of friends and chosen family, and my life is moving forward every day.  In this past year I have worked towards getting a license an completed my first mud run.

Last week I turned 30.   I still have moments of self doubt, but I have started to see my life and who I am for what it is, beautiful and unique. I am starting to accept my body for how it is not how I think it should be.  I have begun to believe people when they call me beautiful or sexy.  My faith grows only stronger as I mature.  I have begun to fully experience my sexuality and sexual identity.  I am loving the way I choose to love and make no apologies for being different.  I have fully embraced the parts of me that are quirky, geeky, an spontaneous.  I have simply stopped letting people tell me I can’t, stopped letting them tell me I won’t, and stopped letting them tell me to grow up.  There are goals I wish I’d have met by this point in my life and plans I’ve had to change as life has flowed in different directions, but I have had amazing adventures and grabbed a opportunities I never would have dreamed imaginable.  I am embracing 30 with renewed spirit and a better understanding of who I am and what I want from life.  The things I hid, shunned, and tried to eschew at 20 are the things that make me dazzle at 30.  I feel like this past year has given me a new life, and I fully intend to live every last minute of it…at 30.

I found myself speaking with an old friend very early this morning whom I haven’t seen on a regular basis since I was 21.  At the time, in my mind, I was a struggling college dropout.  I didn’t know what I was doing with my life, I was working a frantic entry level job at the mall and trying to sell my art on the side, and I constantly wondered where my next meal was coming from.  Basically, it was a less adult version of what I’m doing now.  I was wildly taken aback when  this friend told me that he still talks about me and who I was then, but in his version I’m a girl with a passion doing what I love and making it happen.  His words to me?

Experience is what it is, and its powerful.  Don’t let anyone put it down. You’ve done the hard work before.  Now this stuff is just how you present most of it

I begin to wonder now if that’s the key.  With the matured focus and extra information and resources I have now, is that the missing piece, and I’ve had it all along?  It seems so simple, yet I’ve overlooked it because somewhere since then I lost sight of the dream to focus on the “methods” and “plans”.  Sure there’s merit to all that, but none of it means anything if the passion for that work doesn’t show when I give myself to the world.

Somewhere towards the end of that line of conversation he gave me this:  

Don’t throw yourself into what needs to be.  Throw yourself into what can be

Suddenly it all made sense.  I finished my NaNoWriMo project because it was something I was capable of doing every single day.  If I approach these other goals with that same concept and add in the passion I once had for life and creativity I could be unstoppable.

I remember why I kept myself around this friend so much at a time in my life when I was depressed, suicidal, mostly friendless, and ready to give up my dreams for a bucket of bad decisions.  Not only was he always there to make me smile and feel like I had some fight left in me, but he reminded me why I fought to begin with.  That power makes me who I am.  The good, the bad, the frustrating, it’s all a part of who I am, and it makes me one hell of a fighter.

The Pathway...

It has been over six months since Hubby and I were released from a coven that had once felt like our family.  At the time I was hurt, but I moved on, only to now discover an inescapable anger at not ever getting the chance to discuss any of it before it was taken to the Elders of our tradition, never getting the chance to explain or defend myself against things that had been either blown out of proportion or just plain made up.  This lead to feelings that I was broken in some way.  Maybe I was delusional and this other version of reality was the truth.  I was confused, but now it dawns on me that I honestly have no idea where any of it came from.

The first big sign that there was a problem was being told my attendance was an issue.  Up until that year I had only missed one event, one that had been rescheduled for our moving day after it had been set .  Up until that year I had been to more events in my tenure with the coven than the High Priest, who always had a creative excuse, and was never questioned.  The only reason I started missing events was a change in work schedule that meant working on Sundays, the day most of our events were held to accommodate people who worked on Saturdays.  I was even content to bid for a schedule I hated to get Sundays off, but the seniority based bidding system was not in my favour.  Not knowing if I could get the shifts covered made it hard to commit myself to jobs for these events, which would leave the coven in more of a bind if I couldn’t make it.  To make up for this I would be the first to volunteer day of and first to support coven mates in any other way I could.

We were also told we didn’t answer emails on time, something I admit I’m terrible at, but I detest Yahoo groups as it seems to hate smartphones, and it had honestly never dawned on my to send messages via Facebook until it was angrily thrown in my face that I could and should have done so.  I Hoot Suite my status updates.  That’s about as far as my internet communication goes when I’m at work or sleeping on couches on work nights.  I assumed anything pertinent enough would warrant a phone call or text and gave input I had as soon as I had the means.  Never did I read in any charter that I was required to be glued to Yahoo.  Along that line, whenever I did have anything I felt would actually enrich the conversation in any way I posted it, and it was usually ignored, blown off, or rejected anyway.

Which lead to the next journey in lack of perspective, my attitude and behaviour at events.  I can be talkative, but when I’m processing or thinking I’m quiet.  It’s not an attitude.  I’m not sad or angry or miserable. I’m contemplative.  I’m quiet.  I also have Fibromyalgia and have learned how best to reserve my energy for when it is really important, so I’d store it during meet and greet in order to have it during rituals.  Still, I was told that my “unpredictable” behaviour had been addressed several times and had not been corrected.  Wait, what?  When did this happen?  Was it on a Sunday, because I probably was not there.  The best part was the claim that I brought a “dark energy”(scary, I know) to rituals with me, that it was questionable whether or not it was to the benefit of the coven that I be sharing it, and that it had also been brought to my attention before, again not to my knowledge.  That’s when I saw the tell-tale signs of a loophole.  Dark energy?  Really?  Because I had asked for a little support and help, which was subsequently met with silence on a good day and rejection on a bad day, or because I brought that fact to their attention?

While a meeting was set to discuss these things it was never held.  Our fate was simply decided, our reputations sufficiently smeared to people who had no connection to our coven, and honestly, who knows what anyone was told.  Probably the same things we were, which were horrendous.  For a long time I wondered at their validity and was distrustful of both myself and my abilities as a witch.  Maybe I was bad.

But this, my friends, has not been written to smear my former High Priest and Priestess.  It has been an exercise in looking back and realizing that even people who are supposed to guide and teach us can be misguided no matter how well they mean, but even that was not the point.

The point here was what I believe started the road to our release.  Our High Priestess meant well when she took Hubby’s girlfriend at the time aside and told her she didn’t belong in our marriage.  As true as that statement was, it wasn’t for the reasons she believed, nor was our marriage any of her business.  I had gone to her for emotional advice a few times, and her only answer had been to leave my husband or stop being poly.  That’s not what I needed, and it wasn’t was we needed.  We were still navigating the rocky road to polyamory, and mistakes were being made almost daily, but the answer was not to give up or to have our High Priestess mettle in our affairs.  When Hubby approached her about it she immediately cooled to us both, and whenever we spoke it was all business.  She and our former High Priest became judgmental, and we always felt like they were trying to catch us doing something wrong.   It was the beginning of the end, but it lead us to re-evaluate our choices and how we run our poly relationship.

Hubby and I have moved on, and while we don’t practice as regularly as we did as part of a coven, we still have our faith.  We are stronger, more united, and more at peace.  Our marriage is happier, and we are still poly and loving it.  Do I miss my old coven?  Of course I do, though I can’t imagine what any of them think of us based on last year’s events.  I mostly miss having a group to work with and being a part of a larger collective.  I miss our elders, but I know the time will come when Hubby and I will be able to sit and speak with them again.

What have I learned?  I’ve learned to write more meaningful solitary rituals.  I’ve learned to listen to myself and my results for guidance instead of always turning to someone else for help.    I’ve learned to handle large-scale rejection, how to assert myself, but also when to let go and let people have their realities.  I’ve learned to have faith in myself and not let anyone’s judgment of me bring me down, that no one lives my life but me, and that no one knows how to live my life no matter how much older or wiser they may be in other areas.

I don’t know where I’d be had I left Hubby or insisted on going back to monogamy.  One burnt cookie doesn’t make the whole batch a failure and that particular relationship was not typical or a portent of where our path would lead from there.  It was what it was, an opportunity to grow and learn.

We were never given a chance to clarify our position and defend our actions because their judgmental hole of negativity had been dug too deep already.  Maybe they had tired of us.  Maybe we had outgrown them.  In any case, it was time to take the next step, and we have in many ways, but we have many more to go.

This is me, letting go of the anger that’s been hiding inside me.  Forgiving,  officially forgetting, and in some ways even thanking.

“miles to go before I sleep” – Robert Frost

Aloha

Go now, stop taking it all so seriously.

As I mentioned in my last wedding post, our day was beautiful.  It was also a full Wiccan ritual handfasting before a group of Catholics, Lutherans, and other various and sundry people unfamiliar with our faith.  When we started planning our ceremony we put a lot of thought into how we would present the ritual and how much we wanted to show our guests.  The goal was to stay true to our spirituality while not alienating close friends and family.  Aside from losing our first several officiants, this was the biggest hurdle we faced.  It was imperative that our wedding reflect who we are, but were all of our guests ready for such a candid display?

While we are not a closeted family we are also not always obvious in certain company, so for some this would be the first taste of any of it, and for some time we worried about reaction.  Would people walk out of our ceremony?  Would there be scandal if I danced with my boyfriend or girlfriend?  Would there be concerned lectures about how  marriage should run or how our souls were troubled?  I’ve heard these lectures before, but I didn’t want them to stain my wedding day.

Therefore, we had two choices.  One, try to disguise our ceremony as something ecumenical, or, two, not care about the reaction.  Option one fared several failed attempts, but it the end it went down in a glorious flaming show of self-destruction.  There were just too many things we weren’t willing to compromise.  This is when we both realized it didn’t matter anymore what the reaction would be.  It was vital to us to be bound using our spiritual traditions and no one else’s, and there was no way we could honestly do that by trying to camouflage the parts that might make people feel uneasy.

At that point we set our charts to education rather than placation.  I put basic information on our wedding site, and we did our rehearsal in the comfort of our bridal suite with immediate family present.  We mitigated surprise wherever we could, even putting a  blurb in our program encouraging participation.  As we began to let go of our trepidation the ceremony began to write itself.  The final  result held all the facets that were meaningful to us with no ambiguity or shielding.  While still slightly nervous, I couldn’t imagine our ritual being any different, so we took a deep breath and stopped revising.

The morning of the wedding the magick really began.  As we set up the alters most of the people helping we at least mildly familiar with pagan symbolism and correlation, but I found that those who weren’t were observing.  Some even asked questions.  I felt a sense of pride and peace as I explained the qualities of each elemental alter to my dad, realizing he understood and accepted that part of me as he has with every new curveball I throw his way.  I started to feel we’d made the best decision by being true to ourselves.  If anyone was going to judge us it wouldn’t be anyone who mattered.  I had finally let go of that last shred of feeling like I had to be someone else in certain circles.  That day I was all me, and it felt good.  I mean ecstatic first breath of new life good.  If they couldn’t accept me the way I finally have in recent years I had no apologies.

It was with that thought that I joined my bridal party at the entrance to the garden where a hundred people were sitting, waiting for the celebration to begin.  I could feel Hubby and his men at the other end.  He felt it, too.  There was a buzz in the air, tangible to everyone.  When the music started all the rushing to get ready and worrying about what wasn’t done left me as I grounded and prepared to take the next step in my journey.

The ceremony was exactly what I wanted and more than I could have imagined.  A last-minute rain storm had turned the lawn originally planned for the ceremony into a swamp, so we arranged our guests around a fountain in an adjacent garden bordered by tall trees.  A good friend played an enchanting cello as Hubby entered to the Imperial March, which relieved whatever tension still lingered.  My ladies processed to “Kiss to Build a Dream On”, each one alternating her direction around the fountain.  Even the flower girl and ring bearer acted as if they were born for that very day.  All of this reaffirmed that we had done well.

I couldn’t help but beam as my dad took my arm and we walked.  I know every bride says this, but at that moment I felt beautiful.  I felt free, and loved, and nothing mattered but the man at the other end of the aisle.  Guests took pictures as the priest cast the circle.  They joined in singing our chants and passed the flame with which we lit our unity candle.  No one seemed offended or traumatized by the symbolic Great Rite, and aside from a few curious comments and the bride leaving her vows behind and having to improvise, everything ran smoothly.

It was a moving experience, full of acceptance and celebration of not only the love Hubby and I share but also who we are as a family.  Not only was our ceremony well received, but for weeks people remarked how beautiful it was and how our happiness and love made it memorable, and I was happy I had followed my heart and my spirit.  I had put together a wedding that resonated within me and stayed true to our path.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, going way beyond September 4th, as we joined two families and laid the foundation for a future where we can raise a family and live openly in our faith, in our way, with no regrets or apologies.

I feel blessed, relieved, and loved to have such an amazing group of family and friends.  While they may not always understand or agree with our lifestyle, I am not confident we will always find love and acceptance when it matters the most.  That’s what it means to be family.

Go now, be yourself.

Namaste

People like labels.  We put them on everything.  They tell us what it is, what it does, what’s in it, when it stops doing what it does, what it could do to you, and what to do if it does.  People really like labels when it comes to other people.  Too busy for the process of actually getting to know someone, we are presented with a list of labels.  Joe is: a carpenter, a diabetic, middle-aged, gay, a bowler, and a fan of both country music and the Chicago Bulls, and refuses to eat chicken.  Wow, that was easy.  I know everything there is to know about Joe!  The problem with this system is that I don’t know Joe at all.  I know a few facts about Joe that allow me to make assumptions, but I have no idea who he is as a person.  Considering how far off the mark assumptions can be, Joe is still a stranger, and it is now slightly off-putting how many specifics I have on Joe.

People don’t just like labels, we like to wear them proudly.  We emblazon shirts, buttons, jewelry, and cars with emblems and logos.  We put up flags and customize credit cards.  We put our labels on everything, and no one ever has to ask us a single question.  They already know who we are.  Right?

This weekend we went to a local Pride festival, and nothing brings out the human label makers like a queer event.  We want to know everything.  Are you straight, gay, lesbian, bi, genderfluid, trans, genderqueer, heteroflexible, homoflexible, pansexual, gender neutral, or a litany of other words we’ve drummed up to further isolate each other.  Not only do we insist on these labels, but we bicker about what each one means and whether or not anyone really qualifies.  Why is there this need to be so exclusive.  Aren’t we marginalized enough without doing it to each other?  This is the only place I use the term “it’s complicated” and mean it.  It is, and I have neither the time nor the energy to make a venn diagram of where I stand in my sexuality and lifestyle today.

So, I’m complicated…like every other human being on this planet.  I am more than a sum of labels.

Here’s another scenario.  There is nowhere more un-labeling than a nude beach.  You can look at someone at know very little about her until you talk to her.  You can forget your own labels and just be yourself for a day.  A whole beach full of unlabelled, unrestricted strangers is beautiful, but for some it can be uncomfortable.  For some it means having to talk to another person without knowing a thing about him.  It means opening up to the possibility that he may not have the same opinions, perspective, or interests.  He might have different experiences or ways of doing things.

This can be daunting for people who live solely in their comfort zones, but I love meeting new people, and I love finding out what they’re made of without  a label.  I don’t consider anyone a friend or confidante until she knows the unlabelled me.  The me that changes every day.  The me that grows and evolves, not subscribes to a label.  The me who loves to peel the label off others and see what’s really inside.

This is one of the reasons I write Pearls and Pentagrams.  I get a lot of questions for as being open and honest as I am, but there would be no reason to do this were I not.  At 28 years old (ahem…almost) I must not only be unlabelled, but also unafraid to show what’s really inside.  Otherwise I’m just another unmarked jar.

Go now…find out what’s really inside…

Something in the crisp Ocala air makes things a little more clear.  I have had a chance in the last few days to organize my thoughts and emotions, and I will return to Pennsylvania better equipped to handle the obstacles awaiting me. 

Being alone with my thoughts for hours at a time as I walk the sandy paths of the forest has allowed me to watch them evolve and flourish into something new and beautiful.  This mental chrysalis has made me speechless and at times has brought tears of inspired awe. 

This is the me I have always known, the woman I have let grow dormant as I trudge through the muck of work and household responsibilities.  This is the girl who has slept in parking lots, performed spoken word in a corset, and given her last dollar for a new experience.  This is the woman who loves completely and feels no regret.  This is the me I know and love.  This is the me I want to show the world. 

I started a post in my head about being judged by the lifestyle I lead and the way people view me and my family.  After my illness and a few internal household problems I developed an exterior adorned with negativity.  A year later I was told how miserable my life, my marriage, and my health seemed to an observer.  We had resolved the issues in question, but I was still wearing the psychological and emotional armor I’d used in those battles. 

My lesson in all of this was to let go of my bitterness in general.  I’m allowed to be frustrated, angry, hurt, and depressed, but once the need for it was gone I needed to let it go, heal myself, and fix the image I projected.  This has been a hard lesson for me.  I’m a “fixer” by nature.  I spend a lot of time making sure no one else feels hurt or neglected.  Until now I had not seen that in fixing everything and every one else I neglected some of the most important pieces of myself.  I’ve rediscovered those pieces here in this bunk house in the woods, and I intend to nurture them.  Never again will I forget how valuable and vital this version of me is.  She deserves to be fortified and indulged.  She deserves to be seen by every one.  Anything less is unacceptable.

Go now, find those parts you may have neglected.  Love them.

Namaste

A good friend of mine wrote a blog this week about the possibility of printed literature becoming an endangered species.  I remember the feeling I had when I realized my VHS tapes were defunct and my portable CD player was rather archaic.  I also know the feeling I get from holding a 10″ record, catching its aged scent as I place the needle to let anything from Louis Armstrong to Tchaikovsky teach me about times in which my current form did not exist.  While I do own an iPod and a computer, and while I admit I would have no readers at all if not for blogging, I dread a day when books are a rare commodity.

On a very basic level, I enjoy reading for hours at a time.  The eye strain and headaches I get from staring at a screen all day at work make me not exactly thrilled about staring at that of a Kindle.  What kind of book-burning name is “Kindle” anyway?  I imagine they could come in handy for students on a budget or anyone on the move without the capacity to carry paper books, but I enjoy being able to tuck post-it notes in my text books to more easily access the important passages.  I’m sure somewhere there is a highlight or tab function on a Kindle, but my compulsion for categorization requires various colours and codes.

On a more detrimental note, at least in my opinion as a bibliophile and history enthusiast, is the impact the “digital revolution” will have on our descendants and their knowledge about our world.  Envision this.  Some catastrophe causes the human race to thin out considerably, possibly even dying out completely in some places.  Centuries later, once the world has repopulated and formed new ways of thinking and doing, archaeologists dig up the ruins of our “modern age”.  They don’t find books that speak of our history, philosophies, inventions, and cultures.  They don’t find diaries or travel journals.  They don’t find photographs of spectacular landmarks, celebrated people, and every day life.  They don’t even find paintings.  Instead, they find useless chunks of plastic, glass, and metal in various shapes and sizes.  Unable to access any of the coded information, a world of knowledge no longer exists.  Our descendants will know nothing of the world that preceded them.  Our identity will be gone.  There will be no art, no literature, and no way for the world to know what we accomplished in our time on this planet.  We will cease to exist.  Convenience items like the Kindle, computers, and digital photo frames do nothing to serve future generations.  Once the power drains from them or the electronic components wear out they are nothing more than empty casing.

Some of you may not know this, but I collect old books.  I’m not sure you can call all of them antique, but I do own quite a few of those as well.  I care little about famous titles or how much they are worth to buyers or other collectors.  I acquire what appeals to me for no other reason than that it makes me happy to look through what children were reading in 1843 or what a housewife may have been taking a break with in 1937.  I have learned a lot about differences, and often about surprising similarities, in thought and form of communication through printed word since the days of Gutenberg.

While I have no problems accepting new technology and developments, I also hope there are others who love and revere books as much as I do and who see the merit in keeping the art form alive.

Go now, my friends.  Cuddle up with a good book.

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