A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to find some books. From the way they were dumped in the trash, I'm still leaning toward something catastrophic having happened to the original owner. So I tucked what I could fit on my bookshelf and re-boxed the rest for when I finally find "the house". I felt bad, but I like to think wherever they are, they'd be happy to know their library went to a good home.
Today was a nice day as NW fall days go, and I got the urge--as I do every year--to hit some garage sales. I always make a mental list before I leave home and never get around to it. Maybe I've just driven past too many junky ones or something, but it's usually just a "thought". Like maybe one day I'll go on a Rhine cruise, or drive up to Wyoming. Then I drove past a nice sign that said "Estate Sale, today only" and I made a u-turn. I've never been to an estate sale and I was curious if it really was better than a garage sale or if it was just a different way to say "lots of junk."
The street was old and battered, and the houses were old and in various stages of renovation and I was kind of iffy, because it was getting late and all I could see from the street was an enormous sleigh bed and some dressers. And once I got out--yeah, well. The "antique" (and I don't mean it nicely) loveseat with a cheap throw blanket and two frou-frou pillows fronting seven gigantic bird cages almost turned me around again. Long before I saw the rack of old coats and crap-tastic kitchen utensils I could tell some old lady had just died and her kids were selling off her things.
Then I saw a Dana.
And an ergonomic keyboard--sparkling clean and very expensive. And another, even more expensive keyboard with the little moveable components, and boxes and boxes and boxes of document holders and magazine holders, and little cups like you'd put pens in. Nice ones. Nothing cheap here. And around the corner--like I'd fallen into the writing section of Barnes and Noble--boxes and boxes and boxes of writing books, and reference books (not for my time period, although I was hoping) and just plain books, and--the writer's createspace books.
As I sorted through the boxes, I listened to the kids talk about getting rid of the birds and the cat, and how hard it'd been to move all the books, and how little everything seemed to be bringing in. And I looked at Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Steering the Craft by Ursula le Guin and thought how little these people knew the person who'd just died. This woman poured everything into her passion. The cheap coats, the ugly throw blanket and dollar store utensils were adequate, but keyboards and books were top-notch.
It was bad enough finding someone's library. To walk in on people selling the remnants of a writer's driving passion like it wasn't worth saving was somehow even worse. I wondered how long the woman had to get her stories out before time took her away from her work, and hoped she did what she set out to do.
May she rest in peace.