Confession: Yesterday I tore a page out of a book.

I’ve never done that before. I’ve never even dog-eared a page. I try to keep everything as new as possible. If I could make things look newer than when I got them, I would. I’m the person you want to lend books to, because I can promise there won’t be a single wrinkle in those pages when you get it back.

So what was it that compelled me to rip a page? It wasn’t anger. There was nothing wrong with the book. But I tore in the name of craftiness.

I have seen some beautiful crafts made using old dictionary pages. Every time I see them, I think, I could do that. I could make something creative with a page of words. Hello, I’m a writer. I’m nuts about words. But I have tons of creative ideas, so I filed it away for another time.

Last month, I was in a thrift store, seeking good deals, when I saw them. Two dictionaries, a set. 99 cents each. It was as if they were challenging me. “Really? Can you do something creative with us, or was that just talk?” Never one to pass up a challenge, I pulled them down and lugged them to the front of the store. (These weren’t delicate pocket-sized editions!)

Yesterday, I decided it was the day. It was the day that I would make a fun design with words. But first I had to tear out a page.

I chose a page, grasped it firmly in my fingers, and pulled. I have to admit, my heart stopped a little when I heard that ripping sound. Part of me was screaming, “How in the world can you tear a page out of a book! What kind of person are you?” It was a bit chilling to this book-lover.

I guess sometimes we have to destroy things to give them new life. We have to rip them apart so we can put them together again in new and interesting ways. It felt good, taking something old and forgotten, sitting on a shelf for 99 cents, and giving it new life. But I think my heart will always stop a little when I hear a page rip. And that’s okay. Because I honor what has been – the people who edited this old dictionary, those who printed and bound it, those who sold it, the people who used it. I honor what this book used to be as I make it something new.


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