Monday, January 2, 2017

A Thing Brought Home

If one finishes a work read to them on Audiobooks, have they, in it?

My downloaded copy of Miles Gone By, an anthology of William F. Buckley, Jr. essays previously released, was intended by him to be autobiographical. The work was read in whole by the author, at a time in his life when the ravages of age and lifestyle choices rendered his stentorian tones and New England-esque elocutions uncertain. There were moments when he seemed to be running out of steam, but he would rally - other sections, he had regained his voice and verve. It is wonderfully written, and haunting, for in the end the listener knows that Mr. Buckley, having lived a charmed and profoundly eventful life, has been dead for nearly ten years.

Having finished listening, I searched the house for my print copy. The book had been around - I found it in a second hand store in Lahaina, on Maui, in 2010. I'd read almost all of it already, but... I had to hold it in my hand.

The word is personification. I attributed the human characteristic of experience to this book. It had been with me in Hawaii, in Mexico. It was a faithful companion aboard airplanes, and at my late mother's condo. It was Mr. Buckley telling me what it was like to have common experiences with uncommon people, to sail the oceans and then somberly give up his sailboat forever. He'd skied Utah, visited Antarctica and descended in a cramped submersible to see HMS Titanic with his own eyes.

I couldn't put the book down, but could not bear to read a page.

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