I ventured to Vancouver Island, mostly on a whim, and wound up in Victoria’s downtown where I perused the shops and took in some of the sights. In one of the amazing bookstores there I stumbled across a book entitled “Caprice”. Now, I have been used to my name showing up in unexpected places, so I was intrigued by this object. The cover showed an image of a cowgirl with her black stallion and I immediately thought this would be an “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” scenario, but to my dismay it wound up being closer to a traditional Western. I was not interested in reading this. Also, I was unsure if I should purchase this and add it to my collection, but at the time money was tight and I did want to get back home to the mainland, so I left the book there.
Over a decade later, my partner, unaware of my previous knowledge of this novel, was out thrifting and she came across the same “Caprice”, and she decided to bring it to me. When I first encountered it I was immediately brought back to the bookstore and the reasons I was there and all those memories you think you have forgotten came flooding back and I guess I was expressing an odd reaction. So, I explained: This book, when back in the island bookstore would have become a memento from a short lived affair but I did not take the book, so I thought I had left the memories there. It was actually just a shock to be transported back to that day, in that store, with that person, and knowing I was only keeping ticket stubs and photographs, nothing that was supposed to last.
And here is that book again. A gateway into that day, how it transported me back to cigarettes and quick decisions. This of course, could not have been predicted by my partner, so we shook it off together and laughed about how a book I never read could still posses a memory I wished I could discard, and had it not been for the resurfacing of “Caprice” it may have been locked in my mind forever.
Now, I am grateful it is here, so I can be the one to let it live on my shelves, give it a new life, a new memory, and discard the tattered remnants of a moment I once was.
Now, If any of you have read this novel, please let me know if I should read it, or if it should just stay silent on my shelf. At a glance, there is language used which I believe will be hurtful to women and also to Indigenous peoples, so it is already making me cringe.
I also do not accept the idea that “Caprice” would be “single-minded” about anything. Just saying.
Overall, not every “Found Caprice” is comfortable, but, as in life, the greatest discomforts can also morph into new joy. I may never read this story, I may send it back to the thrift store, but somehow I know that as a Caprice it still embodies the unpredictable, and it just might surprise me again.
Pictures For You
If we ever meet again,
It would be too soon.
If I ever read this story, I will circle back, although I am convinced that my brain would be rebelling against these pages and it will stay closed on the shelf forever.
So, in this case, “Caprice” by George Bowering is a story I cannot give oxygen to. It is more likely to become scraps in my collages so the ideas rested within become something new, like the surprise of a locked away memory can breathe new life with its release.