It happens when you go looking for a book and enter the old suburban libraries circa 1970 with the same women with support hose and brogans. They look at you the same way even though you are an author with many books as you ask them for a particular title. Oh just look under the authors name it should be there. Same as when you were twelve, the same look of faint disapproval, definitely a sign you should be looking for something other than the book you asked for.
So you descend into the stacks slightly musty. I was looking for an old Tom Perotta novel and started clicking off through the P's and of course I missed his name and had to go back to the Sergent at Arms to show me the way. She quickly went right to the title like a savant and handed it to me wordlessly. Wow. I must have walked by it ten times. Uh huh. A push on the reading glasses and she's gone leaving me with Tom Perotta and the rows and rows of books I used to browse as a boy.
And that's when you turn to go but your eye drifts over to the H's. Well, it could be there. Let's see. So you count off the names and walk past it ten times and then you see it. You pick it up and examine the clear plastic library cover. Someone has written inside it in pencil. Strange numbers on the title page. It smells old and well, like a library book. There is no one around and so you open it and give it a quick read. Just the first page, the first paragraph. Not bad. You open it to the middle and read some more. You can't really remember writing that scene and you read it like someone else.
Finally you put that first novel back in the stacks and look back a few times. It's not a bad book. Not bad at all for a beginner and you think back when you discovered a new author in the library. You walk out into the darkness, leaving just a little bit of yourself behind.
WEH 2010 http://www.billhazelgrove.com/