Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Story of "The Magic Book"

It was Friday, and on my way home I saw the a new coffee shop had opened, that is merely about two blocks from where I live. The day had me restless, as I foolishly do at times, spouting off preconceived notions, not realizing the severity of how words can be cutting and unforgiving. The human edit button doesn't always work. So my attention began to focus once again on all of these words flying at me in French, and images of the Eiffel tower...really just made me realize what an idiot I can be at times. The new coffee shop, with an Italian name Disorno (almost like my favorite Amaretto) had emblazoned on its apple green walls "une cafe sil vous plait". I saw the suggestion, but opted for the cafe au lait, and I began to place my order in English to a Korean, using French, forgetting the moment and laughing. She smiled and I offered congratulations on their opening. I began to look at the decor, and saw they had a reading area of Korean books, save this red book, "A Magic Book", a hardcover, hand sewn binding that had no country of origin. I loved it, and already I saw it was going to be mine.
I know, that as a writer, it just seemed to stir my imagination, because had I seen a book like this in the States, I just simply would smile at the novelty. However, I am not in the States, I am in Daegu, two blocks from home. The excitement about the book, was intensified when I looked on the spine, to see the reaffirmation that this is a magic book...I loved the spark of the feeling I had just holding it. "A magician can call many things his own", was both on the spine and the cover. I had to shake my head, even before I read those words, I had already known I was going to possess this book, and took it to the counter, and asked to buy it. She looked startled...and stammered, that it was worthless, just an art book, that it wasn't for sale. My face did not change, but my voice softened and I opened my wallet and slid the money on the counter and simply told the woman, I had to have it. She looked at the money thoughtfully and shook her head and slid the money in the till. I could have walked out the shop that very second, but I waited for my coffee and hurried home to examine this find. The back cover could have been any number of scenes throughout Europe, once again, 'Magic book" was imprinted, and the pseudo post mark of Boston, Mass, October of 1956 on the upper right hand corner. Yes, very well, it could just be an art book, a book that was once something else. An ordinary book, but extraordinary in my hands because of the value I gave it.
And then there was inside the front cover, which took me several tries to get the image just so. An old world map of the old world. This world that I had explored and still explore through literature and my travels. I couldn't stop with this odd find in South Korea.
With the blank pages telling me, we create our own magic in life, all of us do. That is why I had to have this book. Why it was already mine though it was not for sale. Not in a book shop, but a coffee house two blocks from home. A reminder, to choose and use my words with care.


Christina said...

I couldn't have said this better myself. This was beautifully written.

I have found that more so than choosing your verbal words with care, the words and phrases that are used to text someone are more in need of a good edit. So often the translation from these snippits of correspondence comes across quite literally and without being able to see the emotion behind the text--those words can appear cutting and hurtful.

If only there were an edit button on many individuals, there would be fewer miscommunications and more honest and mature conversation.

Mike said...

It's amazing how you were just drawn to that book right out of the blue. Maybe it has some hidden meaning you need to discover now that its yours... ;)

Marilyn said...

Thank you for your observations. It is indeed incredible how powerful words are. The giver and the receiver of those words often throw their own experience to flavor them, often bitter dregs.


Marilyn said...

Mike, it is is very magical.