Sometimes, when nothing else will do, there are photos of books.
Books expand after you’ve read them. With every page, every bend of the spine, the pages thicken with your imagination. I try not to bend the spines too much, but sometimes, it just can’t be helped. When a book gets read more than once, the spines will be bent in multiple places.
‘At first, I almost didn’t know what to do. So many books – where do you begin? But then I recognised sections: literature, mystery, travel, poetry – ah, that’s where I wanted to be. I looked at Frost, Blake, Keats – something familiar, I’d learned about them in college. But this one morning, at the end of my week, I felt spry, adventuresome. The night before, I’d written a poem about the name Lily and I was sure it was a poem. How could you write a poem and not know it was one? Writing was new to me. Sometimes I was just pushing words around on a page, but this Lily thing glowed; it had a life of its own.’ – Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer’s Craft by Natalie Goldberg.
‘I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.’ – The Color Purple by Alice Walker.
Sometimes you read something in a book and recognise yourself in it. It awakens you with a jolt and you feel grateful and less alone. You bring your experiences, personality and ideas to a book, so you will always recognise yourself when reading a book – and no two readers experience that book in the same way.
‘I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.’ – Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen.
The quiet moments, the moments when you read, drink your tea, sink into the present – is my meditation. The less time I have to read, the more stressful life becomes. Reading is a moment suspended, even as the seconds tick by. That time is well spent, and I never regret it. Food for the soul and imagination.
‘Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.’ – Voltaire.