Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Shredded Book - Part One

One day I met my friend, Ann, at the Carmel library.  We climbed the large staircase in the middle of the lobby to reserve a room.  We approached the counter and noticed a large, clear plastic jar on the counter filled with shredded paper. 

"There's a contest to guess the name of a shredded book," said the librarian answering the questioning look on our faces.

We were intrigued.  We took turns holding and turning the jar upside down and sideways looking for a clue from word segments on quarter-inch wide shreds.   We guessed simultaneously, "Anne Frank - The Diary of a Young Girl".  We wrote the title on a piece of paper officially entering the contest.

"What will you do with the shredded book when the contest ends?" I asked, my mind already swirling with art projects for the paper.

"I don't know," replied the librarian, "but I can take your email and get back with you."

I was thrilled with possibilities I saw in these shreds. My hands itched to touch the paper and create.   Several weeks passed until I received the a brown paper grocery bag filled with shreds.  Neither Ann nor I won the contest, but receiving the pieces of one of my favorite books was the best prize!

I remember purchasing the account of Anne's life when I was in high school.  I still have the copy which cost fifty cents, a large amount of money for me, but the average cost of a paperback in 1965. I read and re-read the book, even as an adult.  I researched Anne Frank and found other books written about her and her family.  Her determination, perseverance and resilience reached places in my heart needing encouragement through the years.

I began working with the yellow, musty-smelling pieces, some of which were shred horizontally and others vertically.  I pieced together Anne's entry on Tuesday, March 7, 1944, which was eighteen months after the family went into hiding.  . 

 She wrote, "And in the evening, when I lie in bed and end my prayers with the words, 'I thank you, God, for all that is good and clear and beautiful.' I am filled with joy.  Then I think about 'the good' of going into hiding." (page 153)

Anne's reflective thoughts still inspire me fifty years later. 

God help me look for good, and find clarity and beauty in my day. Fill me with joy and guide me to see good in all I am experiencing.  Amen.

1 comment:

  1. The shredding of that book in particular seems...cruel. I love that you are piecing the account of her life together again, as we all long to do when we read the Diary of a Young Girl. Can we construct this beautiful young girl again, through the words she left behind? Can we crawl into hiding with her? Can we give her freedom?

    The excerpt you included, that you put together, wow. That is powerful. I will lie in bed tonight and thank God for all that is "good and clear and beautiful." If she can pray that in hiding, that in itself is good and clear and beautiful.