Monday, December 29, 2008

An Ode to a Bookmark

An ode to the bookmark
As ordinary and everyday as a bookmark can be, it also charts your progress through life.
By Julia Keller
December 29, 2008
Bookmarks are about as low-tech as you can get. They are superbly utilitarian. They are there to do a job, not to dazzle or otherwise draw attention to themselves. They hardly ever require a service call.

Bookmarks can be born that way -- that is, they can be items designed from the outset to slip between the pages so that you can close the book, go about your business and then return to your reading, secure in the knowledge that your place is preserved -- or they can be items designed for other tasks that, in a pinch, are commandeered to serve as bookmarks. In lieu of a purpose-built bookmark, I've used, among other things: a paper clip; a pencil; a nail; a key; a gum wrapper; a parking-garage receipt; a napkin; a business card; a shoelace; a postcard; a drinking straw; a pink ribbon; a snapshot; a tissue. (Clarification: an unused tissue. I do have standards.)

Bookmarks can be handmade or mass-produced. They can be precious or expendable. My friend Liz still has the bookmark given to her by her fifth-grade teacher. Yet my friend Carmel recently spotted a woman on the bus using a takeout menu as a bookmark. One's a keepsake; the other, just a fling away from the trash can.
Embrace 2

And yet as ordinary and everyday as a bookmark can be, there is also something thrillingly intimate about what it ultimately represents: the progress of your journey through a book, which equates to the progress of your thoughts. You can share many things with a spouse or partner, but even if you're reading the same book, you can't share a bookmark; one's specific place in a book is unique to the reader.
Dancing with God

I realize that the word "bookmark" has, like so many other words, been appropriated by computer technology. We refer to "bookmarking" a favorite website. But the old-fashioned, tangible bookmark continues to hang around. It's just happy to still have a job, to still be needed. There's no sadder spectacle than bookmarks with no books to belong to; they make the Island of Misfit Toys look like Club Med.

Even the most evil of people use bookmarks. Last month, a woman was arrested in the Seattle area and charged with trying to sell what was claimed to be Hitler's personal bookmark.
Nice once a Day

A bookmark is a limit: This is how far you've come. But a bookmark is also a horizon: I wonder what's coming next? A bookmark, then, is both anvil and kite. It saves your place, keeping you tethered right where you are, but at the same time, it keeps tugging at you too. It keeps urging you to rise up and keep going.

A bookmark, then, is like a sliver of hope. It's all about where you are right now, and where you might be tomorrow.
Voices in my book
This SOOOOOOOOOO Describes how I feel about the quotes and messages I use on my work. I can't thank her enough for putting it into all the RIGHT words............ She GETS it, Do You?
Uncomfortable / Dance in the rain


Sankofa Literary Review, Editor

Debra, I had never really thought of bookmarks in this way. Thanks for opening my eyes! Hell yeah we need bookmarks in our lives to keep us inspired.

Ella Curry, EDC Creations

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