professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Baggage Claim

The sermon yesterday at church included a reading rom Tim O'Brine's THE THINGS THEY CARRIED. The minister talked about what we carry: the personal items are only the tip of the iceberg. I think of the week to come when I will be packing for my trip to Nerd Camp. As always, the first things that are placed in a stack to go into the luggage are books. What will I read on the flight there? Which audio will take me from the airport to the hotel? Do I have enough books? YES, I will pack other things. I have a mental checklist for this things, and I am fairly good about getting all the necessities into the bag. Occasionally, I have to detour to a drug store for forgotten lipstick or deodorant, but most of the time it all gets packed.

But the sermon went beyond the physical things we carry. What sort of emotional baggage do we carry? Of course, I knew what Gerald meant here in the sermon, but my mind, as it often does, flicked to a slightly different take on the topic. I jotted down a note so I could go back to paying attention to the sermon while ensuring I would not forget what I might write about later.

Today, I am reflecting on some of the conversations I have been involved in with other readers. Some of them have been FTF, but a great many are online via social media, too. And we carry baggage here as well. I read a picture book earlier today and posted it to Facebook. Someone else had read it and replied o the post. I commented again. And so it goes. What is the baggage you might ask? In our brief exchange, both of us mentioned other books that tied to the book we were discussing. Often my fired Paul Hankins will ladder some books with me as we talk about our reading. Karin Perry will make a comment that makes me recall another book from another time. And then there are the requests of titles.

I tend to go back as far as I can to make connections and recommendations. There are so many books from 5, 19, 20 years ago that still should resonate with contemporary readers. After all, I could never delete WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE from the required reading list for children's literature. THE CHOCOLATE WAR remains, the baggage still carries so much with it 40+ years after its publication.

I carry the baggage of a lifelong reader. While titles and authors might slip away, there are always traces of those books present in me. I continue to make connections and see resemblances and hear resonances. It is baggage I claim and I carry without complaint.
Tags: baggage, reading
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