Two previous owners added their name to the front page: one is Pauline whose handwriting I can’t read. The other hand wrote: The Book Belongs to Pfc. Paul W. Boley with a San Francisco P.O. Box. Did he serve in the military during World War II? Was the PO box the place his mail was sorted to the secret destination where he read letters in whatever language this is: Polish? Czech? Slovenian?
I feel so ridiculously American that I don’t know what language this is by looking at it. I can recognize Spanish, I can recognize some French and German. I feel as if I should be ashamed for not knowing more. I have hosted couchsurfers from the Czech Republic who speak almost unaccented English.
I usually buy old books in other languages to use in my mixed media art, but this book seems so dear to me, I almost don’t want to cut into the pages to make art. If I don’t cut into it, though, it will sit on my shelf – never understood.
I discover the book is written in Slovak through using a language ap. I discover the word "vdacny" means “grateful”.
How perfect is this? What is my new book friend telling me?
To use it in art?
To leave it in tact?
To parcel it out to others?
To keep it all for myself, even though I don’t know Slovak?
It is like Rilke says “love the questions like a book written in a very foreign tongue”. I
I feel it is calling me to create art with it so that others may know and feel its message, its energy, even if we don’t understand the language. It reminds me of how I have learned to love without understanding. It reminds me how I’ve learned love isn’t about understanding, it is about being open and receptive regardless of understanding.
What do you think?
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© 2013 by Julie Jordan Scott