Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why I Make Bookmarks

I was asked this morning to write down my three favorite books that I give as gifts.  It is hard for me to pick favorites of anything, unless it is my granddaughter and she is my VERY favorite in the whole wide world -  but she is also my only grandchild.  See, I said it was hard to pick favorites.  I don't know what I would do if I had more than one grandchild to choose between.
 Madison my VERY favorite granddaughter in the whole wide world sitting in my adventure reading chair with her Bedtime Book Bear from her school librarian, Ms. Quimby.
I've had the pleasure of meeting the first four authors below more than once. I could never pick a favorite author from this list.  But I admire all of their work.  I may not always agree or maybe the reality of their subject matter may be harsh, but they are always worth reading.  I would not only recommend the books authored by Byrd Baylor, Charles Bowden, Edward Abbey (deceased) and Richard Shelton), I would recommend reading anything that you can about these authors' themselves.  They are unique individuals and a great introduction to anyone moving to the Southwest or Tucson where I currently reside. You don't have to live here to enjoy their work.   I admire them greatly and am grateful for the many hours I have spent between the pages of their books.
Some of these books I enjoy so much that I own the paper back version as well as the hardbacks.  I don't want the hardbacks to suffer abuse from being carried around in a backpack or just from reading over and over. 
Well, here is the list:
Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor - One of my favorite books for adults as well as children.  Byrd Baylor lives in Arivaca near Tucson, in an adobe house with dirt floors and without electricity; she still uses manual typewriters (she has three).   She has written over 30 books, this being my very favorite of all if you have to pick favorites.
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey - I loved his essays about the Southwest.  He and Charles Bowden, made hikes and went to areas that I will never see but got to know through them.  I picked up this book by accident while living in Sacramento.  I was browsing the bookstore, going through the authors, starting with the "A's" - I would spend HOURS browsing.  I was planning to move to Tucson and didn't really know anything about it.  Desert Solitare was my first wonderful introduction.  I embraced the move to the desert southwest and could not wait to hike the desert.  Edward Abbey was a contradiction and could infuriate or delight, but he always enlightens.  I was fortunate to attend some of his environmental meetings when I first arrived in Tucson. 
I have audio versions of several of Edward Abbey's books and glad that I do now that he is no longer with us.  I enjoy hearing him read his work, especially on one of my road trips when I was driving through Globe, Arizona  he was talking about the very place but her referred to it as Glob. 
Blue Desert or Frog Mountain Blues by Charles Bowden - Another local Tucson author that I discovered when I moved to Tucson and he was writing for the local newspaper.  His articles always stood out.  After working for the local paper, Charles Bowden published City Magazine.  I used to go down to Bowden's City Magazine office where he would graciously autographed any books I had purchased as gifts.
 Bowden was friends with Edward Abbey and Abbey didn't appreciate the magazine as much as I did.  He told Bowden: he has a lot of potential if he would tear himself away from that "silly magazine".  Charles Bowden went on to fill his potential by doing exactly that, quitting the magazine to go on and write amazing books..  He now lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Tucson's loss.
Going Back to Bisbee by Richard Shelton - Even if you have never been to Bisbee, you will not be disappointed. 
The last two books (I know, I know, they said pick three.  Really?) I had to include as gift books.  I believe everyone is creative. As Pablo Picasso said: "every child is an artist the problem is staying an artist when you grow up".  I have given these to friends to help them get in touch with their inner child:
 Everyday Matters by  Danny Gregory - An illustrated journal where Danny first teaches himself to draw and learns the value of life at the same time. I was encouraged to draw in public and formed a Sketch Crawl group after being inspired by this book.
The Artists' Way by Julia Cameron.  One of my friends was inspired to take drawing classes and went on to write a novel after he reading this book. 
I recently suffered a fractured shoulder and was advised to practice writing while my arm was in a sling, unable to move.  The doctor wanted me to at least keep my fingers and wrist moving.  I prefer to draw but had stopped.  I picked up my Micron pens and started drawing, doodling, creating.  I found this activity more pleasurable than my physical therapy I was doing daily for my shoulder, and felt it was as beneficial.  I then challenged myself to "create a handmade bookmark" everyday for the next 365 days as my own "art therapy". 
These books I have recommended are why I make bookmarks.  Bookmarks, you can't have just one.

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