I just want to say, “I’m sorry.” I have left you empty and neglected. This is not what I intended for you. When I took you from that Powell’s rack I had the best of intentions. I didn’t consider the fact that I was destroying your perfect view of the Blue Room. I believe my Annie Dillard collection was my last find there. But that was before your time, and I digress.
I thought you and I would become inseparable friends. Instead, I moved you fourteen hundred miles away and have not even taken you on any exotic adventures to other book stores. I only fill you with teachers’ texts and bulky binders and weigh you down with the three-hole punch and stapler. I know that has to be uncomfortable, especially once you’ve known the silky smooth covers of hardbacks. If it’s any consolation, it’s very possible I might have saved you from a worse plight – California. Did you hear the stories? I experienced the stigma myself when I first moved to Portland. The natives were very suspicious until I assured them I had not moved from the Golden State. I think it’s a real estate thing, and we shouldn’t take it personally. I see from your tag that you are from China; I’m pretty sure Portlanders don’t have any beefs with the Chinese.
I actually thought you might feel quite at home here in Phoenix. Phoenix and Portland might seem completely opposite given the desert/rain dichotomy. Actually, they have much in common. It is likely you met a tree hugger before I took you from West Burnside. Someday perhaps I can introduce you to a cactus hugger. That’s what we have here. Again, I have been remiss in not getting you out more, so you can learn these things for yourself. I know you’ve at least heard the song Tree Hugger by Kimya Dawson and Antsy Pants. I don’t know how closely you’ve listened to the lyrics, but personally, I find it interesting that the cactus (not the tree) is the one that talks about getting a hug. Yet the song is not called Cactus Hugger. This is why we love writers.
Is any of this making you feel any better? Trust me, I would like nothing better than to take you to a book store and fill you with inky-smelling treasures. I’ve been in a slump lately, though. I’m not sure what I would even look for, let alone buy. I’ve been considering Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. I always intended to read it before the movie came out, but like I said, “Slump!” I’ve read about the book…I was thinking about writing an apocalyptic work myself. In my story all the paper mills are closed down because words are no longer printed on paper. As scary as a paperless world sounds, you have to admit that at least a few people in Portland would not miss that sour, pulpy stench wafting across the Columbia. Yes, I know you are familiar with unpleasant odors. I’m sorry you were strangled by Katy’s sneakers during your stay in her closet. She loves you almost as much as I do. Try to remember that she is only 15.
Fifteen is really not very old. Surely, you saw souls of all ages during your stay in the City of Books. I wonder if you ever saw any of my book-loving friends. Diane, Julie, Sabina? Janice? I hope you saw my sons. How about anybody famous? Did you ever see Donald Miller? That reminds me: I still need my own copy of Searching for God Knows What. See, I have plans for you, after all.