Wednesday, March 3, 2010

gifts from abroad

Recently, I almost broke my neck on my way out the front door.

An unexpected package with a strange stamp was on the porch, and I should have known it could only have been from one person:

My friend Merm!

(Actually, it's Miriam. But somehow it became Merm over the 15+ years I have known her.)

Merm is a rare sort of friend. She was my study abroad companion in Italy and has been my "book-and-words friend" since high school. She's been abroad in the UK for the last four years working on a Masters in Creative Writing, a Masters in Publishing, and now a PhD in Creative Writing. She's good stuff. Very generous, frank, reflective, creative, funny, adventurous and ever-striving in an inspiring way.

She's still traveling the word on weekends, living the life of academia continually...
and I must admit I am a bit envious. In the photo above, she's in Dubai with a Camel Crossing sign.

However, there's one thing I have that she doesn't: a better sense of GRAMMAR and PUNCTUATION. (NOTE: I didn't say perfect; just better by comparison!) She knows she's bad, so she sends her work (including a novel I'm in the process of proofreading) to me. It's such an honor that after all those fancy degrees she still sends her work to lil' ole me for critique!
So, what was in the package?

An old book.

But not just any old book.

A book from 1864 that smells of dust, time, ink, human hands, cozy homes and crisp, yellowed pages.

I love the marbleized cover pages. I bet it was considered very elegant in 1864.
It's such a work of art and such a fascinating, enigmatic emblem of an era and will sit on my shelf as just that: Art and History.

The stained pages, dotted and smudged with years far before me,

The cracked binding, separating from a century-and-a-half of being in existence,

The lovely, bent and torn corners,

Thank you, Merm! I consider this gift a rare treasure.

(And I will be stopping by its new nook periodically to smell the pages!)


  1. Oh, it is a treasure indeed. I love old books and yours is a beauty.

  2. Oh, don't you just love old books?!
    What a great friend.

  3. I must say, she knows me well to send such a gift!

  4. A treasure that must be kept inside your heart : her friendship :)
    The book is really amazing !

    Have a great day, sweetie :)

  5. Isn't it great to have that special friend who knows exactly what you like?
    What an interesting life, to be travelling abroad and writing.

  6. Oh, I love old books. I'm such a sucker for them-- esp. really high quality children's books (that I'm then too afraid to let my children actually touch.) What a lucky life Merm has!

  7. That book is phenomenal!!! Love that cover especially...I can trace my fingers along the design all day.

    one love.

  8. Old friends
    Old books
    Tender words
    Loving looks

    All joys to you,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  9. Aw! What a wonderful blog! It brings be a lot of joy to share the wonderful world of the bookshop with you. And, you are correct, my grammar is atrocious; you'd thought I'd have learned it somewhere along the way, right? On another note, we all are slightly envious of what we don't have. :) and you can come visit anytime you want. Next stop down the line, I hope, is Tuscany.

    P.s. Congrats again on getting into the MA program!!!!

  10. She sounds like a wicked person to know! I love that photo of her with the sign! What a cool gal. I like how she sends you her work - I do that with my mum! :) xxx

  11. I'll say this is a Treasure!!!!!!! Good LORD, Courtney!!! Talk about friends in high places!!! You lucky duck!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (have you ever read "84 Charing Cross Rd." by Helene Hanff? You would LOVE it!!!!!


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