I continue to keep busy with moving preparations which at this point consists mostly of throwing out accumulated junk from drawers and closets, and deciding which books, cds, dvds, etc. I'm going to sell so I can decide how many new boxes I need to buy to ship what's left. I expect to ship some books (no accessories required) but I may well end up selling all music and films, because I'm planning to leave all electronics behind and don't expect to replace them soon if ever.
Today between drips and coughs, I whittled the current totals down to 216 books and 157 cds and even did some practice packing to see how much a box would hold. Those still may seem like large numbers but they're very small compared to what I had when all 5 bookcases and 6 cdcases (what's the word for that?) were overflowing with piles on the floor and more boxes of books in the closet. This was the complete extent of my consumerism. Vacation? Car? House? Furniture? Clothes? Nah, I need some more books.
During the repeated thinnings, I've made a list of the autographed items I have. It's not that I've ever cared about collecting autographs (in fact I've already sold some signed items without bothering to see if they were worth more), but signings were the only way I was ever going to meet a lot of authors and musicians, and in Boston there were a lot of them.
I've already written about meeting Dave Foreman and Patty Griffin and that the excellent nature writer and artist David Carroll sent me a copy of one of his old books when I wrote to him wondering if there were any plans to reprint it; also in that post and comments are mentions of a couple more authors I was very glad to meet and have sign their wonderful books--Paul Gruchow when he visited our bookclub to discuss his book and Rosemary Mahoney who wrote a book I loved so much that I dared going to a women's bookstore for a reading.
Here are a few more brief tales. I had Helen Nearing sign her cookbook, Simple Food for the Good Life. Sample breakfast recipe--Miracle Mush: Grate 2 apples, 1 carrot, 1 beet, and mix. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated nuts. Bill McKibben signed one of his books for me and we discussed Earth First! since I was wearing one of their t-shirts. Irish musician Luka Bloom also liked whatever eco t-shirt I was wearing at the time--I remember a big orange sun and a griz but don't recall what it said. Great local, but internationally known, photographer Jim Brandenburg signed an excellent dvd based on his experience of taking only one photo a day for 90 days. The fabulous songwriter and acoustic blues guitarist Chris Smither got so used to seeing me at his shows and others we were both attending that he started saying hello. A terrific guy; he's playing a benefit in the town I'll be heading to three months after I get there which I hope to attend if I'm still around.
My personal favorite autograph has to be from Jonatha Brooke, first known as half of the group The Story. I asked her to sign a cd booklet next to the lyrics of a song titled "Full-Fledged Strangers" and opposite a photo where she looked great. She wrote, "Stranger no more. Thanks for the support on a cold November day." That's fabulous--I could write a story myself based on that personal touch.
Most nerve-wracking autograph was the result of a long line at a bookstore waiting to reach the legendary Joan Baez. I was involved with an older woman who loved her music, and we'd attended a concert where Baez sang a song about a younger man/older woman relationship which felt pretty special to us. She signed her book for my friend and the concert program for me.
And the one (actually nine) which started it all came at a baseball game in 1967. In 1966, the Red Sox had lost the most games in the American League. In 1967, in what was known as The Impossible Dream, they won the pennant and lost the World Series in seven games. I attended a game in 1967 and met a pitcher who took my program back to the clubhouse where players signed it, including Carl Yastrzemski who that season won the Triple Crown for leading the league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. No player has done it in the 40+ years since. Another signature came from that year's Cy Young award winner Jim Lonborg. I'm hoping to make some good money off this when I'm in Boston this summer.
Friday Ramble - January's Performing Arts
17 hours ago