Yep, I’m scribbling statements,
shooting arcing arrows to the page margins of my book to target some idea, and generally defacing a perfectly good book.
I do it to my bible, too. You should see the first chapter of John with notes in red, underlining in black and even tiny drawings in whatever color pen I had in may hands at the time. Whole sentences are highlighted in yellow. My bible looks like a friendly edit.
My books are my friends, so I talk to them. Why shouldn’t I, they are talking to me? I take the text seriously as a conversation between the author and me. When I converse, I often learn something, if I am listening. And, when I listen for a while, I want to respond.
At restaurants when I am alone at a table with my book, I catch people staring at the guy who is writing in a perfectly good book. What a waste!
Although I throw most books away after reading them, I keep a few of the books by authors with whom I’ve had discussions. Every so often, I’ll pick up an old friend whose pages are worn and whose binding is loosening and begin asking new questions of something I hear for the first time in the text.
As his editor said to Gibbon when he presented a mass of pages entitled “The Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire”: “Always, scribble, scribble, scribble, heh, Mr. Gibbon?”
Yeah, I’m always scribbling, though I would not have been worthy to carry Mr. Gibbon’s snuff box, much less emulate his writing.
If I have been reading a book and there are no handwritten exclamation points or question marks along the edges of the text in the margins, I’m not liking the book much. I’ll probably not finish it.
I’m not going to loan a book to you either. Too much of myself is revealed in glosses all through my books. I would be embarrassed to offer one to you. Too much of my soul would be hanging out in the pages.
St. Augustine reminded us that God has written his existence into our universe. He is there, always, scribbling away, amending and mending his creation. We should read His book again and again. We should make comments and ask Him questions. I know He will be pleased that someone cares enough to join in the eternal conversation.