Last week I was sitting at the laptop working on some editing when there came a tap-tap on the door. It was Mr. Courier with a parcel I wasn’t expecting. I signed, closed the door and then spent the obligatory time trying to figure out what was inside that plastic envelope. I tore off the tabs and found a heavy cardboard box. Inside was a carefully bubble-wrapped book. Resisting the urge to ‘pop-pop-pop’ I removed the wrapping and found this:
It’s from a friend of mine that I haven’t seen since 1967 although we do get together by phone frequently and occasionally on facebook. “The Lords and the New Creatures” is Jim Morrison’s first book and this is a First Edition, First Printing hard cover. Other than minor edge and corner creasing and light surface wear to the dust jacket, it appears new. And it should. It was purchased from the 3 Rings bookshop in Monterey in 1970 and has been stored on a shelf or in boxes since then. It even ‘cracked’ when I opened it.
I’ve wanted this book for years but due to financial consideration could I only get a couple of well-used trade-size first editions. Had I not found those I suppose I could have downloaded it…no, I couldn’t. No matter how you cut it a downloaded copy of any book is not the same book. It’s a plastic screen versus the light perfume of age and the texture and the feel of real paper. It’s sticky-back vinyl woodgrain versus real hardwood…it’s just pretend.
As I held this book I sensed the value in my hands. Not just monetary (although it has that) but the plain, simple value of existence. Here is a book written and published in the late sixties. It bears the burden of ambiance…that feeling of being there when you flip through the pages. It’s that feeling that is the true value.
If you’d care to borrow this book…yeah, no. I have some paperback copies I’d lend you but this copy doesn’t leave my house. It’s in a safe spot, carefully protected (though still on display) so that fifty or one hundred years from now someone I’ll never know can hopefully have the appreciation for it that I have today.
For me this book is also a connection to a friend of nearly fifty years. Thank you Neil.