The Lamp Stays Lit

My father seemed to have a knack for stumbling onto books by new writers, new voices. As his own family grew, his study was converted into a bedroom for me. His book collection stayed put, and I would read the books he brought home by the light of a little lamp on the bookshelves beside my bed. I rarely turned off the lamp even when I was about to fall asleep.

I still keep a small lamp lit in the central hallway of the little house where I live. It sits on the top of the shelves my grandfather built, shelves that are crammed three deep with books. But the light of the lamp illuminates a single row of books held in place between two triangular marble bookends. The row contains a selection of my favorite books by my favorite writers, some of which are from my father’s collection. The lamp stays lit all day and all night.


from “Dancing on the Head of a Pen” by Robert Benson