The Leaning Tower of Books

Post Date: February 17th, 2012
Image found here

Outside the entrance to the mall stands an odd sculpture, beckoning people to approach it. It’s a leaning tower of books–moldering, wrinkling, fraying books. Hard-bound and paperback cling to an Eiffel-shaped structure. Books such as Funk and Wagnalls Family Health (circa 1970), The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (circa 1950?), and The Norman Conquest (1940?). Goldenrod fabric hard-bound books and black-and-white glossies are deemed too old, uninteresting, out of touch, and so they have become art subject to wind, rain, pollen, and passersby.

This sculpture stands because our local library has recently been displaced during a period of renovations. Now you can grab a pizza, get your nails done, and check out a book.

I went inside the library to the YA section. As I sought the hottest books, kneeling in the stacks, I felt my knees pop and crack. I had to be careful I didn’t tweak the one I injured back in the day, at 33. I wondered as I searched the shelves if people think I’m a mom seeking novels for her teen.

I’m aging. We’re all aging. That was my unoriginal thought being at the library today. It’s also my thought looking at my manuscript. Time is passing. Sweat’s poured into the thing, warping some of the pages. On the cover blooms the mold of many opinions–some good, some not so good.

One day very soon, when I have the strength in my bones, I’ll make a decision about this work of art. For now, I must stand tall and lean into the wind, hoping there are answers for old things, retro things that might still have a tale to tell.


  1. Thank you for this meditation on aging and waiting–inevitably the two go hand in hand. I, too, can remember waiting for my book to see the light of day and thinking that while I waiting for the slow wheels of publishing to turn that the book was passing its prime, that the issues and ideas that had been new and innovative when I wrote them were becoming outdated and old hat. Being patient and trusting that God’s hand was somehow, someway in the timing, too, was definitely something I had to intentionally practice. Your novel will be “out there” in the just right time–and then it will weave its way through peoples lives in all the idiosyncratic ways that art flows around our collective lives. And you’ll still be writing and wondering and waiting again…

  2. Thanks, Marcia. Agreed! While all we can see in the moment are the pages before us and our fears, there’s a bigger picture here. It’s not a random journey but one full of adventure. And when we write from the heart and commit to craft like we would to a serious relationship, art emerges that others have to hear.