I collect bookmarks. Actually, I collect a lot of things (ask me about Whimsiclay ceramic figurines sometime. They’re like potato chips. Or crack). I’ve been hanging on to bookmarks for as long as I can remember–after all, without a bookmark, how do you keep track of where you are in the book/books you’re reading? And I’ve been a voracious reader forever. Aren’t you?

I have bookmarks from every bookstore that graciously tossed one into the bag when I bought books. I have cute, tasseled bookmarks from Barnes & Noble that I just couldn’t resist. I have one that has the One Ring hanging off of it. Most of them have been sequestered in a drawer in an architectural flat-file primarily used to store prints that we just haven’t gotten around to having matted and framed yet (one day, we will have all of our Samurai Cat prints matted and hung–but not today).

Of course, these days everyone with a book to promote has bookmarks with their cover art to hand out, so the collection is . . . excessive. But it still makes me smile. Many of those bookmarks live in my library inside the appropriate books.

When I read, of course, I grab whatever is handy to use as a bookmark: old business cards, vintage baseball cards, etc. And Hit Points.

I have a stock of Hit Points that I use as book marks. They are the size of business cards (approximately) and labeled “1 Hit Point” in various colors, with a number hand-written on the back. They date from the early-to-mid 1980s and the very first live-action role playing (LARPing) games. I participated in several, one at my dorm (Risley) at Cornell that was one of the very first games ever run (I think), one at a Boskone, a time-travel themed game at a Baltimore-area convention, a stand-alone game at a hotel, and “Twilight of the Gods” held at SILicon I.

As I continued to participate, I also shifted geographically: from Ithaca (Cornell) to Endicott & Endwell (for grad school at SUNY-Binghamton), then to the Boston area for gainful employment. Concurrently, the folks running the games, who were based primarily out of the Boston area (Harvard, MIT & friends) formed the Society for Interactive Literature. Although LARPing has continued to grow and evolve, much of its base was formed there and is basically the same. Who knew it would endure so long and become so popular?

Every time I pull out one of those colored cards and use it as a bookmark, I remember the fun from all those years ago. Great job guys!

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