To Be Literary or To Be Relevant

I stood at Barnes & Noble, debating on whether or not to buy the Collectors Collection, “the cornerstone for any reader’s library.” The box contained titles such as Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Dracula, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and a few others that literary people speak highly of.

Basically, it’s the list of books I didn’t read when they were assigned in my Honors English class in high school. (It’s a little known fact: I’m not a good student.)

It truly was a beautiful collection, leather bound, embossed titles; even if I never read them, they would look beautiful in my library.

But the honest truth is, I’ve never read them. And I likely wouldn’t. Not because I don’t want to, but because there’s another one by Elizabeth Berg or Marisa de los Santos or Madeleine L’Engle or Donald Miller or Henri Nouwen or Lauren Winner or Anne Lamott.

I don’t read fast. A girl has to make choices. To be literary and well read, or to be relevant. These are not always synonymous.

Anyway, I didn’t buy the books. It was a $70.00 investment in a beautiful addition to my bookcase, and that’s frivolous. Maybe after I pay my self-employed taxes, I will revisit this topic. But it’s more about the identity than the money, since the collection is something I could set aside and save for if I wanted those books badly enough.

The truth is, I want to be the girl who has read those books.

In another book-buying come-to-Jesus situation, I scrolled through Amazon to one-click my way to some new piano music. I looked at so many, talking myself into practicing more and refining my skill so it would make sense to have these lovely arrangements among my collection.

In the end? Get this. I chose “42 Classical Pieces in Easy Arrangements.” I like to play, but I don’t like to practice. I want the artistic expression of playing freely, but I do not want the discipline of learning the song. (Another little known fact: I am not especially good at working at something I’m not good at. This may relate to the fact that I’m also not a good student. See above.)

The truth is, I want to be the girl who can at least enjoy the Intermediate Arrangements.

I want to be the girl who soared through grad school without a single hiccup or extension or letter from academic advising. I want to be the girl who reads faster, parents wisely, pays attention, and can play etudes and sonatas that will resonate throughout the neighborhood.

I’m not that girl.

And as long as we’re talking about who I want to be, then I need to clarify with myself that I don’t want to be the girl who will display books in my home for the sake of wishes, pretendings, and apprearances.

Collectors Edition, I love you, and I wish I were worthy of your calibre. Intermediate Piano Classics, someday I hope I can play you with ease. Or at all.

I’m just not that girl.

I’m in my jammies on my couch, drinking cherry KoolAid that I wish was wine (but I’m not a girl who can drink wine and stay awake), sitting next to laundry that I wish was folded (but I’m not a girl who plans past underwear for tomorrow), and looking at chipped toenails that I wish were tended (I will get a pedicure on Thursday).

Poor me another glass of KoolAid, and hand me that latest bestseller. Me and my toenails are coming to terms with who we are.

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7 thoughts on “To Be Literary or To Be Relevant

  1. You do know you can find those books at the library, and read them, then decide if you really want to invest in copies for yourself. :)

  2. I stood in the Barnes and Noble yesterday..looking at the same table with the same titles.. drooling.. just a little bit : ) I walked away.. would love to be that girl (Ok I have read Jayne Eyre) so I tip my glass full of Kool Aid to yours :)

  3. I am not a big reader, but I once read a lot of the series “Love Comes Softly” by Janette Oke
    have you ever heard of her?

  4. Ahhhh, so much truth in so much of this. Let’s raise our glass of Kool-aid (or Pepsi or whatever) to being real and admitting who we are. I love anyone who is willing to admit who they are. Let the library be viewed and the music play for the joy of those who love it!

  5. This is such a great post, Tricia. For so many reasons. I think I would sound gushy and over-the-top to start spouting them here. You may not be many things, but one of the most beautiful things that you are is HONEST. Love that and love you.

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