Old Friends

Some of my best friends are books.  Once in a while, I pull some of my all-time favorites off the shelf and re-read the highlighted sections.  (They wouldn’t be favorites if there weren’t highlights.)  It feels like a visit with an old friend.

You can’t highlight in borrowed library books, however, so years ago I started copying out portions of literature into notebooks.  I used a regular old spiral, college ruled notebook and wrote in longhand, old fashioned girl that I am.  Whenever I read a book, I kept a pencil in hand and made a slight mark in the margin when something seemed especially significant to me.  Then, when I finished the book, I went back and copied out all the sections that were marked.  Sometimes it was a sentence or two; sometimes a paragraph or two; occasionally a page or two.  If I realized that I was about to copy most of a book, I knew it deserved a place on my shelf and I bought a copy of my own.   However, writing the words out in a notebook helped me retain more of the information and made it easier to refer to later.

There is something about the scritch-scritch of pencil on paper that engages all my senses.  The feel of the pencil in my hand, the smell of the graphite and wood and paper, the sound of cursive letters being laid down, the language taking shape before my eyes.  Writing words down is like grabbing ahold of a fleeting thought and giving it a place to land, to nest. 

Now I have several notebooks full of excerpts and quotes.  And on quiet, rainy Sunday afternoons,  I might sit with one of my old friends and and have a visit.

…of making many books there is no end…  Ecclesiastes 12:12

5 thoughts on “Old Friends

  1. …and you had time for this amidst being a mommy, teacher, Pastor’s wife, friend, confidante’…. Wow. Sounds to me like you have treasures to hand down for generations. Your third paragraph above is one of those passages I’d like to capture forever. 🙂

    • That’s what I did instead of planting beautiful flower gardens and growing scrumptious fruits and vegetables! You reading this blog is like me sitting on your porch admiring your view…

  2. I don’t know about you, but for me, there is nothing like a #2 pencil when putting thoughts on paper. For some reason, the words just flow off the end of the lead, and the letters take shape without effort when using a #2 pencil. Bic pens, felt tip pens, ballpoint pens, Sharpies, etc just don’t hold the same magic that a pencil has. It’s as if the letters and words reflect more of me when written with a pencil. When I use a pen, I feel more pressure for perfection. The pencil is forgiving if I make mistakes or change my mind (oops). Of course, I always choose one that still has a fat eraser…

  3. Yes! That’s it exactly! Are we sisters?! Your comment about pressure for perfection is so true. Sometimes I think I choose a spiral notebook because it’s so plain. A fancy leather bound journal would require words that are worthy! Looks like we’ll keep the #2 pencil industry in business for awhile. Appreciate your thoughts, as always.

  4. I still think that being able to write a letter longhand and sending it to someone in the mail is like getting a gift in the mail. It saddens me when I heard that the elem. schools are not requiring cursive writing anymore due to technology. 😦

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