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December 22, 2020: The Bright Lights Book Project: A Mixed Blessing

Today you ventured back to the recycling center, in order to resume sorting books. What you found when you entered the work floor area was that all the hundreds of books that you’d previously sorted had been either shredded (paperback) or sent to the mill (hardback). All that was left were several shopping carts full of paperbacks to be shredded and a Gaylord with books to be pulped.

Gone, the round yellow sign that read: “There’s a certain joy in being resourceful.” Carol, who works upstairs, said she’d taken it down. The implicit message was, this area has been set aside for recycling, not re-use. You swallowed hard a few times and determined not to dwell on this, a short-sighted act.

The cause for others’ lack of faith in this project was that there were so many books. And you were holding out, hoping that they’d provide you with a small stipend; then you’d resume doing distribution. This never happened. So, you’ve now taken the bull by the horns. You have a quiet place now, in which to categorize and make distribution calls. And, you can make your own sign, which is one that reads, “There’s a certain joy in being resourceful.”

You gravitated in the direction of the one full Gaylord, which was piled high with hardbacks. You’d much rather have sorted through paperbacks, but this was the second-best thing. These days, you will take what you can get.

Your favorite Bright Lights related activity is sorting. Wonderful books seem to materialize, and you claim them, glad to have saved them from being shredded or pulped. Today was no exception. Some of your finds included A Portable James Joyce, Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, and On Rhetoric by E.P. Corbett. The latter brought back a lot of memories. When you were in graduate school in Milwaukee, WI this was required reading. You and Pete drove one cold January day to Madison, and you purchased a copy. You referred to it when you took Classical Rhetoric. Now you have two copies.

You piled the books on the floor – you did not categorize because time was of the essence. The goal was to get as many books as possible into boxes, out the door, and over to the Church of the Covenant Meeting House. You did an amazing job – in three hours you amassed a pickup load of boxed books.

Pete, who gave you an assist in loading the books into your pickup, remarked that you most likely won’t be able to find readers for each and every book. What you didn’t say was that in holding each individual book in your hands, you carefully considered who might eventually be the lucky recipient. Your heart was filled with joy in realizing that the possibilities remained endless. For example, there is a need for out-of-date textbooks overseas and as well in bush communities. You are just going to have to make a concerted effort to make what might end up being dozens of phone calls. And eventually, someone, somewhere is going to say, “yes, we would love to have these books!”

Once done, you ventured back outside. It was raining and inky black outside. Pete, with the truckload of books, met you at the front entrance. You were wearing your mucklucks. You shuffled across the icy parking area slowly, like a little old lady. The adage then came to mind, take this venture as you are taking these steps, one at a time.

Next: 352. 12/23/20: What kind of holiday is this, anyways?

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