The Gift of a Book


Daphne has taken writing workshops with me in various venues over many years. On Monday she was part of the writing retreat I held at Villa Maria del Mar in Santa Cruz. When someone you’ve known for years, one you care for, whose reading tastes you trust as they enlarge your own, gives you a book, you take the book seriously, well, I should say that I do. Yesterday Daphne handed be a small stack of books she thought I’d enjoy. When I thanked her, she responded by thanking me for taking them off her hands! One book in particular caught my eye, written by a writer I’ve never read but whom I’ve wanted to read for many years: André Aciman. The book is Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere. Early in the still-dark morning, I cracked it open and fell into the first essay the way, if lucky, one falls into love. It’s titled Lavender, and is about the magic and mystery of scent—the scent of lavender once took away a migraine Aciman had as a boy. “Smell lavender,” Acimen writes “and, no matter how far from one another, were all gathered in one warm, snug room stuffed with pillows, close to a crackling fire, with the patter of rain outside to remind us our lives were secure.” Thanks, Daphne!