August 14, 2013 by Roe
A couple weeks ago I was checking the mail. It wasn’t a lot, far less than usual actually. But while thumbing through the letters, I noticed something larger than the others addressed to me. What struck me as strange was the fact that I hadn’t ordered anything recently as I’m unemployed and without the ability to be frivolous with my limited funds. Yet it was a large envelope/package addressed to me specifically and I could feel the contents inside; Definitely a book of some kind. I found myself somewhat perturbed. Is that weird? Even if it is, later on I convinced myself that it wasn’t as we currently live in a paranoid, skeptical, over-analytical culture full of distrust and suspicion.
After pondering for a few minutes as to what this could be, I opened the package and there did indeed contain a book inside. Freckles by Eric Shaw. The book and author were unfamiliar to me and the whole ensemble seemed pretty DIY. For example, no ISBN number, Arial and Times New Roman font, and the author’s return address label was on the package itself. No publisher, etc. It wasn’t large. Just over 100 pages with some black and white photos inside. I even Googled the book and although you can find it in various electronic formats and order it from the author directly, there’s nothing giving it “mainstream validation” as in search engine results from Amazon, eBay…sites like that.
From a quick glance, the format seemed to be poetry or something along those lines. I was pretty dumbfounded. Who could have sent this to me? Did the author somehow have my address? I asked friends and parents about it. They were clueless as to who could have sent it and seemed just as flabbergasted as I was. I went through bank and credit card statements, my PayPal history, and came up with nothing as to how I could have received this book. Finding no conclusive answer as to how I received it, I decided to open it up and give Freckles my undivided attention. But before I could, I noticed a note inside – Two pieces of printer paper folded in half and typed single space. Essentially, it was a message of the author’s thanks and appreciation for purchasing the book interwoven with life’s reassurances along the lines of, “everything’s going to be alright”, “someone will love you”, “you’re here for a reason”. I don’t know, kind of uplifting stuff that any unemployed, directionless college grad would want to hear. Kind of timely stuff, you know? I read it over 10 times before I actually read the book.
Now, this isn’t a book review but I have to say I did enjoy reading the quirky, honest poetry from this mysterious author that uninvitingly showed up on my doorstep. If I understand correctly, all the poems were written at a point in the Shaw’s life when he had uprooted himself from his familiar surroundings, got lost, did some thinking, reflected on mistakes, and constantly kicked himself for the broken heart he was so positively sure he caused himself. Truth is, Freckles would/will never get “mainstream validation” from a publishing company or anything like that because it’s too raw, too real, too imperfect. Kind of like a human being. I think that’s why I liked it. It’s at least one of the reasons why I did. It even kind of reminded me of myself in a way. Not always literally, but thematically. That’s how I relate to Hip-hop sometimes, but that’s a different conversation to be had for a different day.
Now in the note Shaw provided, he listed his email address and link to his Tumblr site urging for feedback, communication, contact, etc. Still baffled about how I ended up with Freckles, I decided to contact him. I wanted an answer and I knew this would definitely get me one. Turns out, I had won something on eBay from him – something Saves the Day related. (I’m pretty sure it may have been the white vinyl OOP edition of ‘Through Being Cool’ I won this past December/January) He told me he uses his PayPal account to handle his book orders and eBay stuff and must’ve gotten my address from eBay mixed up with the book orders. A silly mistake but I didn’t mind it. In fact, I found it very interesting and told him so, along with the story I’ve just shared with you. I got the vibe (although I guess it’s always hard to tell via email/text what kind of emotion a person is really conveying) that he was embarrassed about it and if he is, I wish he wouldn’t be because in a strange sense I really am grateful. A book was sent to me that I would have never discovered had this situation not happened in this way. I would have never been aware of this book in any other circumstance.
It’s just another one of those universe things where things are (literally) delivered to you or happen to you without your knowledge or control. It’s another message that I will probably hold on to for way too long and over-analyze until it’s lost all meaning. It’s kind of a problem I’m trying to get over but unsure how to go about it, you know? But if anything, I now have a cool story to share and a book in my possession that not many people have or even know about.
The world knows. The world always knows what you’re going through, how you feel. It senses your energy and orchestrates its place within the field of everything else out there. I’m sure of it. Whether you call it God, Allah, Zeus, Shiva, Yahweh, Jehovah, Buddha, Jesus Christ, or Mother Earth – It’s all the same. It’s this all encompassing entity and science and magic fueled by hope, fear, love, hate, and faith that is beyond our imagination yet is constantly pulling all these strings and allowing silly mistakes to happen that send unknown books to our front doors.
You can order Freckles for yourself, here.