It occurred to me that I could have titled this post “My Love Affair with Books.” But an “affair” implies something temporary (and hopefully reciprocally intense). One could say “marriage” but that doesn’t sound right, either.
I’ve wanted to read ever since I can remember. It was comics when I was a child, because I was given comics or got them from my cousins. Then we moved countries and there was a drought where things to read were concerned. But there were cartoons and TV shows and I watched a lot of Tom & Jerry. Those days, I would read anything, even shampoo bottles. (Sometimes I still do. Read shampoo bottles that is. About books or internet reading, I have developed strong preferences and there are writers I cannot have invade my mind. So I don’t read those.)
Then we moved countries again and slowly books started pouring into my life. I sought them, too. It’s been years now since I read the way I used to read when I was younger. But I am reading again now and again the feeling of glad-to-be-alive is seeping back. Of course if I am intent on a subject, I am insufferable when it comes to conversation because I’ll want to share what I read, what I think, what I want to find out and I’ll want to know what you think about it.
It’s why I’ve started writing again publicly. You write, you put it out there and people are given a choice. Perhaps they will read it right away, or maybe glance through it later, or ignore it if it doesn’t call out to them, but there will be a soul or two who will resonate with what you have written and they will, in that moment, feel a bond with you. And in that moment, the sense of separation disappears. Whether you are kin to me or not, know me or not, are in my country or live on the other side of the planet, in that bond of resonance, we are one; and the edge of existential loneliness is blunted.
I used to read late into the night or well into dawn when I was a teenager and in my twenties. And now when I am on a holiday, I still do that. I automatically slip into that being-alive-at-night-and-asleep-in-the-day routine. Being awake nights is less lonely because the world around you is asleep and it feels normal to be alone. You feel you are the only person alive in the universe and there is the cool night breeze and bats and the rustling of leaves. You’re alive and your mind is lit up with feelings and thoughts evoked by a fine piece of writing. It’s wonderful. You feel like you are in the heart of life or God.
This post was really to talk about the book I’m currently trying to read. Some books are hard to read. Like The Fifty Shades of Gray because it’s really just a terrible book. Jung can be very hard to read because you need to give him your all when you are at your peak. Liz Greene can be like that, too. You can’t read them after a full day’s work. So now I sneak a little before I go to work and then carry over the momentum into the weekend.
But this book: The Invitation by Oriah I find hard to read because I’m afraid of reading it. She has a beautiful style, simple and yet it touches your heart. Deeply. I think that’s why I am afraid of reading it. I don’t think I can bear to have my heart touched so deeply anymore. I know that the tears are there, the longings and so much pain. Just the normal pain you collect in your heart if you’ve lived a few decades: when you’ve seen loss, yours and others; shattered dreams and lives, yours and others; some doors closed forever and the unkindness of so much that touches us in big or small ways. Continue reading