02 July, 2012

My Birthday

My pen ran out of ink on my birthday.

Ordinarily, this would not be such a big deal, but at the time, I was a few miles deep in the forest while my ink sat useless on top of a stack of so far unread books at home (an eight book set of Anne of Green Gables I bought for $1.50 at a library sale in New Jersey). My electric light shone brightly on my journal as I tried desperately to at least finish the sentence in my birthday entry, but it was not to be. I had run dry.

My pen is perhaps my most prized possession; certainly, it is the most expensive -- if you don't count Topia, my loyal beetle. I've only had my montblanc for about four years, but in that time it has served me well in situations good and bad. Perhaps I was naive, however, to just assume it would not run out of ink while I was in the center of a dark forest at night.

Still, it's no justification for getting irritated on my birthday. I'd chosen this venture because I wanted some alone time. Far be it from me to dictate that alone time must be spent on journal writing. My light was still functioning quite well, after all. So I took out a book I haven't read for almost a decade at this point: Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy.

It is a well-worn copy, though not by my hand. I found it in a store of a battered second hand shop somewhere in the midwest, I think. It's a nineteenth century edition, with writing in the margin of the first few pages from at least three previous owners. Although I have a copy of the same text published in the twenty-first century, it just feels cooler to read Boethius in a dark mountain forest on my birthday from a book that is four times older than I am. One day, I will get a kindle, but in the meantime, I can't help but consider this method much more awesome.

Suddenly, the sky lights up brightly, and I realize a storm is headed my way. As I gather up my fold-out chair, electric light, books, journal, headphones, iphone, walking stick, backpack, pen, water bottle, and bag of nuts, I wonder to myself: why didn't I bring an umbrella?

1 comment:

  1. There is definitely something about reading from a real, old book that cannot be replicated by the Kindle, no matter how crisp the e-ink screen gets. Something to do with the smell, and the texture, and the story of the book you are holding written in its creases and folds. However, I will say that I've enjoyed having my Kindle immensely. When I was in Japan a friend of mine sent me Neal Stephenson's "Anathem" as a Christmas present. When I spent my three weeks traveling Japan I took Anathem with me to read on the train and such. However, lugging around a 1000-page book proved to be a pretty significant pain in the ass. The simple convenience of being able to carry that book--as well as dozens of others--in something that is smaller than a single slim paperback is pretty huge if you are doing any kind of traveling.