In 1996 when applying to be a VISTA volunteer in Appalachia I met my future husband and business partner Bill Kerr. Bill had just finished 10 yrs of living around the world and out of a backpack — literally he had just spent six months hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine and living in a tent. He cooked me dinner in his tiny furnished studio apartment that was impressively spare. I asked about owning books and he said, “Why do I need to own books if I live across the street from the library?” That was a profound question to me. Living the simple life with as few possessions as possible: sign me up.
So I went back to my house and sold every book that I owned that I could get out of any library. I kept my Japanese books, cookbooks, reference books and books that I’d want to look at on a regular basis for inspiration. My mantra was, “Realistically I don’t need to have a copy of Moby Dick. I don’t need to store it, dust it, move it. I’ve probably read Moby Dick for the last time.” I’ve used the Moby Dick analogy for the past 17 years when extolling the virtues of borrowing rather than owning books.
So it was REALLY ironic that my friend Gini, a retired high school English teacher, showed me a copy of the new book Moby Dick in Pictures. The author, an untrained artist, made a piece of art every day for 552 days based on a sentence of Moby Dick. Many of the pictures are made from drawings on paper ephemera with ball point pens, makers or paint. This is an inspiring piece of work not only for it’s clever concept but also for the dedication and faith that it must have taken to complete the project. I really appreciated the dedication: For Ione, I’m finally done!
It’s a beautiful book that may inspire you to make a piece of art from words or a story that you love. If you’re a book collector it’s a big, beautiful and interesting book. If you’re a minimalist like us and just need 3-6 weeks of Moby, inter-library loan may be your new best friend.