I used to think that books were too sacred to write in.
I used to think that I was respecting the book and the writer by keeping the pages pristine.
Now I know otherwise.
Now I know that the notes I leave in margins of books are love notes to past self, present self and future self.
Now I know that the notes I leave are loves notes to the writer across time and space.
These notes that I scrawl in the margins, the words, phrases even entire paragraphs that I underline are a conversation. A conversation with myself and with the writer.
Once, at a week-long workshop I attended with Natalie Goldberg, I handed her my copy of “Wild Mind” to sign. Pages were dog-eared, the cover ripped, notes written throughout, sentences underlined. She held it in her hands, turning it over, carefully examining the mess her beautiful book had become in my hands. Then she looked at me and said,
“Wow! You really devoured this!”
And I had. I had devoured it—consuming every morsel that resonated with me, leaving notes and underlining passages as if dropping breadcrumbs to where I had been, to who I had been.
I still think books are sacred which is exactly why I write in them. It is a sacred conversation between me and the writer. A sacred conversation between me and my Self.