I was quite shy to ask them if they would be willing to carry rose-water syrup. When I peeked her on display, it took all effort not to purchase a copy because I was so proud. Doesn’t she look lovely on that shelf? Here’s the official description of rose-water syrup, as it can now be found online: “This exquisite collection of poems from Palestinian-Canadian Maha Zimmo presents the reader with jewelled vignettes from Zimmo’s lived experiences of relationship under conditions of diaspora. The politics of friendships, lovers and bodies are sinuously interwoven with the fragrant imagery of the rosewater syrup that symbolizes the continuity of family history. As much as this book is a homage to survival, to enduring faith and connection, it is also a fierce indictment of Occupation, colonialism, sexist misogyny, and the wounds that such oppressions leave upon bodies, spirits and an entire people. The beauty of the imagery in these poems does not conceal the piercing insights that lie like thorns in each delectable verse.”
That shelf sits inside one of my favourite bookstores in Ottawa, Octopus Books (116 Third Ave) –
This small and highly selective shop has been my go-to since university. I’ve never gone in search of knowledge-growing materials, and not found them here. Here’s the thing with shops this small – they must be selective, and mindful of what they choose to keep inside of their small areas; unlike shops such as Indigo, which are warehouses bound by little constraints regarding real estate space in which to keep all books. Whereas the latter may afford to keep 10 excellent books out of each 1000, the former must have nine excellent books out of 10 to survive. Each store mentioned in this piece, but for Indigo, meets this criterion. And it was this criterion which I used as guide regarding where I wanted rose-water to find her home – Venus Envy (226 Bank St), Perfect Books (258 Elgin St), Books on Beechwood (35 Beechwood Ave), and Singing Pebble Books (206 Main St).
Pop into any of these shops and take a look around if you’ve not done so before; like something out of Harry Potter, you will grow brain cells the moment your foot passes their threshold. Promise.
(If you’re outside of Ottawa, remember that you can purchase rose-water syrup online at these locations.)
Today, I am grateful for:
1. Readers. HI! YOU ARE ALL OF THE AMAZING.
2. Paper. I don’t think I will ever get used to reading a book on any kind of tablet. I like to scribble and keep notes in the margins with a particular pen, and this will never change.
3. Wisdom. Which is never to be confused with knowledge.
Ottawa | Day 228 | July 16, 2019