Respect-Care-Include: The story of another book.
I was lifted out of a box that smelled of sawdust, and was placed on a shelf. I sat awkwardly, self-conscious of my difference. A book next to me asked, ‘why are you shy?’ I wasn’t sure of what to say, but it looked friendly, and so I said, “I don’t fit in. I look and feel different from the others.” ‘Different, isn’t a bad thing, look at me I am thinner than the others, and look at that book there, it’s smaller than everyone else, and that one has no cover. We are all a little different.‘
I wasn’t reassured. I sat quietly. It smiled and said, ‘let me tell you about how you were made.’ “How would you know?” I asked. ‘I heard the lady who put you on the shelf tell your story. You have been made from recycled cotton paper. Cotton waste was collected from apparel factories, and was shredded and mixed with tapioca.’ I interrupted, “Waste, I was made from trash! Different isn’t very special, is it? I do not want to be different.”
It smiled and continued. ‘Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root, and starch is a polysaccharide that has many molecules of sugar or glucose. Plants produce it to store energy.’ “Oh, the cassava plant had to lose its store of energy so that I could be made?” Again it smiled (it smiled a lot).
‘The pulp of shredded cotton and tapioca was dried in the sun and pressed into paper on a large cylindrical press that runs on solar electricity. And then rows and rows of paper were hung on a clothesline to sunbathe. Your paper was born of the sun and the plants. You have no wood pulp and no chemicals and no tree was cut to produce you. Your ink too contains soybean oil and other vegetable oils. These oils do not trap heat in the atmosphere, and they do not add to global warming. ‘
I was embarrassed. Who was this me, who felt awkward?
“So…, I said, you’re telling me that I am the cotton tree, the sun, the cassava root, and the soybean plant.
I am a little of many?” ‘Yes,’ it replied. I smiled.