Saturday, April 12, 2008

outward bound

Books. I don’t just read them, I think about them too. I fantasise and criticise and fall a little in or out of love each time. I wonder what it means that the bedroom is where the bookshelves live whereas the study is wall to wall music. One wakes me up and while the other keeps me warm at night. Sleeping soundly beneath a blanket of words and waking to a concentration of sound.

I think about the books I part with, sent on their way, to travel to another pair of waiting hands, who welcome them, and give them a roof over their papery heads. I wonder what they leave behind once they’re gone. Not so many new words these days, not so many new ideas. But perhaps a few new questions and a clearer idea about the kind of book I don’t want to write.

And with them they take my fingerprints and my dust. Perhaps a hair caught between their pages, a scent of certain soap or sunlight from time spent on table or lawn. Maybe the footprints of a money spider that passed by. Or the aftertaste of a dream from where the book lay by the bed on a darker than average night. A nail mark on a page where I gripped too tight or a tiny tear on one turned too fast. Or a heavy breath sunk into a sentence that I had to stop and read again. And again.

If books could speak, the stories they would tell.

7 comments:

dandelion said...

ooh, you said it! Aren't books really quite great?... And it's funny but "Or a heavy breath sunk into a sentence that I had to stop and read again. And again." sums up the way I feel about a certain blogger's words...

Gorilla Bananas said...

I never realised books were that sexy. I'm thinking about spending a dirty weekend with one now...

polona said...

funny... i just had a discusion about books with a friend...
it's a shame that there are so many words written that i'll never get a chance to read...

and books are made for telling stories although, as you say, some would be quite dofferent and perhaps more interesting than those written inside.

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely post, I have most of my books in my bedroom too... I like to put something into any book I pass on to someone else - a handmade bookmark or a collage or poem that fits with the theme of the book, or an article about the author....

An Unreliable Witness said...

One of the tragedies of my tiny one-bedroom flat is that the books have to live in an overcrowded set of IKEA (sigh) bookshelves - so overcorowded, in fact, that they are now piled high in every corner. Pretty soon, the cheap shelves will no burst, firing volumes off in every direction.

The second tragedy is that the bookshelves are in a hallway. I pass by, others pass by - but we rarely stop.

The third tragedy is that I don't have a library lined with books, and dedicated to the pastime of immersion in those pages.

Jay said...

Ah ... books! I don't have too many in the bedroom, simply because they gather dust, and I'm allergic to dust. But in the rest of the house? I can't actually think of a single room which doesn't contain at least one book, except the guest bathroom - oh, and the utility room. The lounge shelves hold over a thousand.

But don't you find it almost impossible to give them away? We do.

spacedlaw said...

There is so much of me, of my dreams, in the pages of each book I read that I can never part with them. They know too much about me to ever be left free to roam the world ever again.
Every loan feels like treason: I feel like paying a private eye to follow them around, to make sure that they are well treated but also to be certain that they love none else.