Franklin collects books, not for their stories or covers but for their birth year and edition.

He wanted me to know his main interest is only in the first, and I smiled but didn’t ask why. I’d never seen anyone touch or open a book cover so delicately. He turned the first blank page ever so slowly as if he feared moving faster might rearrange the letters on the page.

I asked if he’d played and he said no. All he knew about Dungeons and Dragons was that as a child, his classmates would spend an entire weekend playing.

“But I’ve never sold any of my books. In fact, there are bookcases all over my house, and my wife Erla collects fairies to fill the rest of the space,” he said, laughing.

He was as excited as a child with his ‘new’ book collection, and I couldn’t help but feel just as excited for him. When we parted ways, I wondered if he would actually ever read them and decided he wouldn’t.

How beautiful, that something written twenty years ago can bring a person joy regardless of the story. To find appreciation in nothing more than the initial birth of the art itself is an honor not always revealed to a writer, or any artist besides. For this alone you must remember the value of pressing forward, because the excellence of your human spirit may be lining the walls of someone’s home simply to remind them of their own.

It seemed to me that Franklin was a collector of birthmarks, not books.

Surrounding ourselves with fairies and priceless stardust magic is never beyond the reach of our own delicately dancing hands.