Sunday, March 3, 2013

The bookseller and the blind woman

Today I sold a book to a blind woman. Lena is a regular at the coffee shop on the corner.

When I told her that The Warrior’s Stance had finally arrived, she asked, “Oh, may I hold it?”

I put the book into Lena’s hands and she said, “It feels gorgeous. What does it look like?”

The large section of the front cover depicts a Warrior. Lavender, his outline emerges from a rectangle the color of cabernet. The Warrior is dressed in ragged clothes, lunging into the warrior’s pose, one foot in front of the other, his weapon held high, poised for confrontation, is merely a slim tree branch with leaves still clinging to one end.

The model, drawn from memory, was a homeless man I saw in Balboa Park one day circa 1990. I never dreamed that his stance would one day come to symbolize my 48-year old daughter Laura Jeanne Morefield’s fight with stage four colon cancer. The Warrior’s pose adorns the cover of chapbook that Laura asked me to produce. It was during one of our mother-daughter afternoons two months prior to her death.

“And here on the back,” I told Lena, “is a lavender panel with handwritten passages from Laura’s journal reversed out in the cabernet color. And at the top of each page is a strip of cabernet each with a different handwritten entry taken from her notebooks. The poem titles are reversed out in white.”

“Oh,” said Lena. “It’s so beautiful.” She purchased a copy, intending to give it eventually to her niece. But first she will take it to the public library where they have a machine that “translates” copy into words so that she can “read” the entire book.

Before Lena left I read one of Laura’s poems aloud, the one titled “I invented bodysurfing.”

When Lena left, I wept, wanting to share the experience with Laura. “She knows already, Charlene,” said my wise friend Rob. “She knows.”
Laura Jeanne Morefield and her mom


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