Unabridged Adventure Series: An Unhappy Find

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Bed time, last night.

Fairy Tales of the World: Stories to Read Aloud

Introduction by Jennie Ingham

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Unabridged Adventure Series, Part 9

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Thanks to yesterday’s project, I was able to continue with the Unabridged Adventure Series. (For those of you who’ve forgotten the premise, first go here.)

The book: Teach Yourself Dutch by Gerdi Quist and Dennis Strik, copyright 2003. The subtitle: All-Around Confidence.

The find: two tickets from Madison, Wisconsin to Detroit, Michigan. Date: Friday, July 6, 2012.

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Unabridged Adventure Series Part 8

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Unabridged Adventure Series Part 7: The Things We Circle

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I’ll admit, I used to be a circler. An underliner. A writer in margins. Until the day I wasn’t. In this two-thousand-three-hundred-and-fifty-six-page dictionary, someone circled page 1097. No other comments. No rabbit ears. No bookmarks. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind pencil or pen or inserts or coffee stains in books. Scratchings show use. Things you leave behind mean you were there. They make for interesting blog posts. But really, you can only scratch where there’s an itch: no coaster for your coffee, for instance.

Now I, occasionally, stumble across some arrogant aside written by College Christine, and my hope is that Old (Crotchety) Christine will find fewer but perhaps more meaningful quotations authored by Middle-Aged Christine. Or at least something mildly funny.

Unabridged Adventure Series Part 6, Ruined

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Unabridged Adventure Series: The Myth of Sisyphus and other essays

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Two tickets from State Capitol Tours on page 131.

“It weighs 10,000 pounds. It has over 200 light bulbs. A Volkswagen would fit inside. Capitol rotunda chandelier designed and made by Louis Comfort Tiffany. For more information call 360-586-TOUR.”

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Unabridged Adventure Series: A Pleasing Birth

As promised, the Unabridged Adventure Series now continues outside of my dictionary. On to other used books! The first I came across this week while doing my prenatal homework: A Pleasing Birth: Midwives and Maternity Care in The Netherlands by Raymond De Vries. On page 246, a note. Addressed to me?

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The note in its entirety:

“Hi Christine–

I hope you want to join us for another adventure.

–Heather”

Return of the Unabridged Adventure Series

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As some of you may remember from a previous post, I bought, not too long ago, a five-inch-thick dictionary from 1937, which is now proudly displayed on a re-purposed deck railing stand in my living room.

I began documenting the items I found inside the book. First, a newspaper article. Then some rosesA sketch by Mom. Finally, a fern. I was reminded of all these fine findings when I accidentally flipped to the first blank page of the dictionary this morning, only to see this lonely blossom that must have somehow migrated from page 231.

I’ve decided to expand The Unabridged Adventure Series to include my entire book collection. Many copies purchased used. Many purchased new and now used, likely to contain bits I’ve left behind.

On Fridays I Steal Things

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On Fridays, my brain is nearly finished with me. And so, on Fridays, I steal things. I write only what shows up in front of me. Words the three Turkish children yell as they run up the sidewalk. Songs the construction workers sing between beats  of hammers as they make patio doors for our New Zealand neighbors. Sometimes I write the ambulance sirens. Sometimes the church bells. The meows of the impatient cat who likes to sit on the hood of a matte black BMW outside my office window. This Friday, I stole words already eaten. The dictionary page I had opened to yesterday, still wide-eyed on the dining room table, gobbled by a small still-green Asparagus Fern.

Page 571: Something that Looks like Asparagus Fern but Isn’t

Verb: To beget.

Born upon the surface,

especially the upper,

as fungi on leaves that no one can reach.

Noun: A poet from the earth,

growing closer to the ground.

Relating to the epiglottis,

Something always upon the tongue,

the upper mandible,

as a parrot, a gull,

a piece of something that

hangs from the page.

Unabridged Adventure Series: Part 3

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Page 510, DOTE to DOUBLET. My unequivocal favorite find so far.

Dictionary Adventure Series: Part 2

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A couple of old roses where the letter C begins.

Part One in the Series: Adventures Inside a Dictionary

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A few weeks ago, I purchased a 1937 five-inch-thick dictionary on Etsy. It smells like my grandmother’s attic, and I’ve been careful so far not to spill my coffee on its tissue-paper-thin pages. Over the course of a couple Scrabble nights and a few random endeavors (i.e. What’s the precise distinction between a steed, a stag, and a stallion?), I began finding things inside this heavily-used reference book. No, not words, actual things. The first: the article pictured above.

This, for me, is how stories are  born. You find something unexpected. Or it finds you. You think about. (It, rarely, thinks about you.) And then thinking churns its way into moving: fingers on a keyboard and on and on and on.

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