I went to pull an old Glimmertrain journal from my bookshelf tonight and this childhood book, which had been stacked on top, slipped out. I could instantly feel myself sitting on the hardwood floor of the upstairs hallway beneath the skylight in my childhood home, plucking books from the bookshelf and reading for hours. Believe it or not, I pored over this one. It was less an interest in saints and more an interest in lives. I took this book to be factual, biographical. Proving that really, I’ve always loved nonfiction. The stories had an unbelievable, and often tragic trajectory, a woman living in poverty and obscurity who eventually attained sainthood, or a nobleman who gave up his earthly possessions to live amongst the poor. Fairy tales, or reversed fairy tales. I also obsessed over the names: Cecelia, Elizabeth Seton, Ignatius, Francis. And the saint my sister is named for, Kateri Tekakwitha. Her story is by far the best, and we had other storybooks about her life, too. It’s incredible the way books, images, pieces of art leave an imprint. I can feel the cool wood floor on my legs, the way I’d get lost in books, the peacefulness of being in my own world. Perhaps I should also say that My First Book of Saints was not in league with the better-loved books on the shelf like Little House in the Big Woods, Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden, My Antonia, and so many others that escape me now at this late hour.
(Post 211 of 365)