Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Long story short..." (?)

I am a Bookcrosser, and have been a part of Bookcrossing since 2002. The Bookcrossing premise is simple...the idea is that most of us have too many books that we're never going to read again. Why not pass those books along to other people who might be interested in them, but do so anonymously, and in a sort of random, serendipitous way.

Here's how it works. Through Bookcrossing, as a (free!) member, you register a book. The book will be given an ID number. That number needs to be in the book (usually on the inside front cover). Then you can "release" the book, leaving it - strategically or randomly - out in the world somewhere, at a coffee shop, on a park bench, or, as I have done (as you'll see), in a mall. Someone else will (hopefully!) pick it up, journal it, read it, and pass it along to further the book on its Bookcrossing journey. The great thing about it is that when the book gets journalled, you get the notification and can follow it on its journey.

Anyway. I released a book at Pioneer Place mall over two years ago (Simon Winchester's, THE MAN WHO LOVED CHINA, in case you were wondering), and it never got journalled. This does sometimes happen. But then sometimes, we get lucky. I got this journal entry the other day about that very same Simon Winchester book...

19 November, 2011
Ok well, long story short- My friend found this book at Pioneer Place mall in Portland, Or. USA in January 2009. She left the book at my apartment in Vancouver, WA when she returned home to California. The book sat in the corner of my closet, obscured by the detritus of my existence. I rediscovered the book as I was packing to move out of that apartment in September 2011 in preparation for my upcoming deployment to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. "What an awesome place that would be to leave this book!" I exclaimed. I took the book with me to Antarctica, intending to find a good spot at McMurdo to leave the book. Unfortunately before this ever happened, I was horribly injured in a freak accident involving several Kiwi Army soldiers, one large weddel seal, a tri-wall container of medical waste and one entire pallet of Speight's Old Dark on the sea ice about two and a half miles off the shore of Ross Island, following the Great McMurdo Halloween Party of 2011. There may have been a violation or twelve of the Antarctic Treaty so the details of this incident will have to remain a mystery, for obvious reasons. Anyway I was medevac'd out of Antarctica before I ever had a chance to deposit the book and now here I sit, on my last night in Christchurch, New Zealand, at the public internet kiosk of The Legendary Elms Hotel, typing madly late into the night and reviewing MRI images of my mangled musculoskeletal system and suddenly the realization washes over me like the lava that any day will be begin to flow from the majestic summit of Mount Erebus, which looms over the population of McMurdo Station like the ever present blade of that great proverbial guillotine. "Holy shit!" I exclaim, "I still have that fucking book." That's right, I hand carried the damn thing all the way to Fucking Antarctica and failed to leave it behind, then I spent another week in New Zealand and never once even thought about the damn book, and now only 9 hours before I board a flight for that miserable filth hole, Los Angeles, CA where a team of highly skilled surgeons will begin the work of refurbishing my rotten corpse, I deposit the book here, on the cheap wooden veneer that lines the desk on which resides the bacteria ridden keyboard on which I type. There are others in this hotel right now who are heading the other way, down to The Ice, to that vast expanse of frozen mystery from which I just came and to which I wish I was accompanying them. I see them wandering the halls of this very hotel, wandering the streets of this very city, drinking it's beer and marveling at it's lovely Botanical Garden. I see them wide eyed in anticipation of the adventure ahead of them, the adventure which, for me, was cut short, my blood staining the ice of the Ross Sea. My hope is that one of these great explorers, the bearers of the same mad wanderlust that brought me to the bottom of the world will find this book and do with it as I had intended. I will return to my beloved Terra Incognita next year. Healed, rested and wide eyed as ever in anticipation of the new adventure that will lay ahead. And when I return, if I find this book again, inhabiting that frozen land that warms my heart like no other place, maybe then I'll get around to reading the damn thing, I'm sure it's very good.

I think this is the mother of all journal entries, at least that I've received. It's been awfully fun...AND, the best thing about it is that I met my partner at a Bookcrossing gathering over six years ago.

You can check out Bookcrossing at the home page here:

And you can look at my Bookcrossing page here:

You can keep your eyes out for finding a Bookcrossing book...you never know when you may find one!

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1 comment:

  1. Great post, hilarious journal entry (I read the whole complicated story aloud to Rem) and a sweet finish. Nice.