Saturday, June 27, 2009

Memory Lane

Thinking about the Past Today. . .

Years ago, 1980 to be exact, I was given the assignment to drive Gerald Stern from event to event. I remember trying to lift his suitcase into my new chevette and was nearly pulled over by its weight. I said, in disbelief, "What's in this suitcase?" And he rolled his eyes and said, "Books." Everyone had given him books and of course he couldn't say no. Which prompted this conversation as we were on our way to his workshop. But, first, we stopped at Leo's Bakery, to bring pastries to the workshop and he sang to the bakers and counter help and postman-- sprinkling smiles all around-- completely charming. Okay, here's the point, which relates to the weight of his suitcase. Enroute to the workshop, he asked me to name the 25 books I would always keep, no matter what. It was such a huge question. I don't think I ever truly finished the list. I think I wanted wiggle room, because it's a permanent selection. It's a big question, isn't it? Which 25 would you keep always? You can mix the selection up (fiction, nonfiction, poetry), because this is your top 25.

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