I woke up after a night of much dancing and revelry thinking about the King cello. I’d never heard of it before last night, but my friend C. is doing a lot of research into it. The instrument has survived years of revolution, turmoil and mishandling to find its home in South Dakota. It’s shipped to Italy every year to be played, and I’m sure that the current owners take out millions in insurance and keep careful track of its movements until it is safe in it’s home again.
When C. was telling me the story of the cello (which is much more interesting than I am making it, and I can’t wait to read the work she’s doing on it) it made me think of the Sarajevo Haggadah. I’ve been listening to NPR on my bus commute, and To The Best of Our Knowledge had a segment on libraries. They talked to Geraldine Brooks about her book The People of the Book, which traces the Sarajevo Haggadah. This book lasted through the Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust, the bombing of the Bosnian Library…. like the cello, it was passed hand to hand and has lasted. I don’t know much about the bombing of Sarajevo, beyond what I remember hearing from the news when I was little. I feel like I should have known about the library and the librarians that risked their lives for the books. A human chain helped to save ten percent of the collection, and I found myself wondering what I would risk my life for. For a book? I hope so.
Both of the Sarajevo Haggadah and the King cello, though we know where they are now, had years of simply vanishing. No one knows where they were, how they got there, and they barely seem to know why they resurfaced. This is where C. and Geraldine Brooks enter, creating a story for the blank space.
So of course, I’m feeling the need to return to ether. I thought I’d taken the project as far as I could, but I keep finding spaces that are empty, but not. The missing information that can be created, the emptiness filled with shimmering lumniferous words.
It feels nice to be back.