Something happened the other day that snatched my breath.
I’ve been going through boxes and boxes of Paul’s books for this, and every now and then I come across something I’d like to hang on to, to read before letting it go, and put it to the side. The Tin Drum by Günter Grass was one of these, and after I’d sorted another box, I picked it up and flipped it open to visualize a good spot for the BookCrossing label. There I found Paul’s familiar handwriting all down the first page.
Thinking it was a pre-gift dedication and hoping I knew the person so I could pass the book on to them, I read on to find the following:
“Hello to whomever found this book!
This is a quick note to let you know that I’ve registered this book at bookcrossing.com, a fantastical site that will allow me and you to follow the path of this book as we either pass it on to another person or leave it behind to be mysteriously found.
If you read this, or you’ve just found it and want to pass it on to someone else, please take the time to go to www.bookcrossing.com/061-180623 and enter a brief journal note on the book or the finding of it.
Hey – when you’re done with it, leave it on a bus or a bench or give it to a friend to enjoy – share the words!
He had known all about BookCrossing. He thought it was wonderful, had an account there and had registered this very book with the site 10 years ago, meaning to leave it on a bus. I typed in the BCID and found the account, his bio, books he’d released, someone had even found and posted about one he’d left at a pub we used to go to – to talk and write and have pints. It’s funny he never told me about it, but he always had so much going on.
I’m still pretty stunned. I can’t begin to describe how this makes me feel, but I wanted to try – it’s as though he sent me a letter saying I’m doing exactly the right thing here. It sent a whole lot of residual grief packing and opened a very bright window. 18 months ago