Books influence my reality. Or at least my perception of reality. It becomes more intensely packed with potential excitement, packed with elements of joy and hope, and sorrow and shock, and promises to fill me with truth. The content of any given book might not be the truth in a philosophical sense, but the book itself and the printed letters inside promise something that is true. Whether it’s true, as in aligned with reality, is a different question. It’s the inherent a promise that resonates with my inner self.
Simply put; I love and adore the idea of a book, as well as the presence of books themselves, and dream of assembling my own personal library, filled with my passions, a display of raw information and story, of all the big and little adventures I have lived vicariously through the words of fellow dreamers. Each special narrative I can revisit and reinvest in over and over again.
This feeling expands to other book related spaces. I enter book stores and libraries like believers enter churches or mosques, with a sense of awe and reverence (for the written page that is). The noise of the outside world seems to wash away, deadened by the sheer volume of paper on display. Fellow worshippers roam the shelves like pilgrims looking for the right words for them. A perfect world that only ever falls apart when some clerk asks me to pay for my mountains of holy literature, the nerve of him or her to interrupt my revelry.
With my recent investment in a Kindle Paperwhite, I can’t help fearing change to this special relationship. Will this easy availability of thousands of books ruin that special place books have in my heart? Will book stores become relics I never visit, like churches and public bathrooms, or will their retain their slightly mythical status? What about the glory of paper books, that musty dusty smell from old, worn volumes, or the crisp, slightly acidic smell of a fresh paperback? I’m quite certain that I’m being irrational, but the questions still linger at the back of my massively overpowered skull.
Admittedly, part of my discomfort is sheer self indulgence. I want my own work, once I finally finish a novel or short story collection, to be published in physical form, as well as on Kindle or a similar platform. To have the book in my hands, and feel the investment fully manifested in its proverbial Final Form. Absolute and unalterable. Any book on my Kindle still feels intangible and easily alterable. Unlike George Lucas, I want my work to be completely finished. Rational human my ass.
Is this rational? Logical? Is this obsession with the paper book necessary, or even viable for us? Or am I lost in memories of a time when a trip to the library (also known as my second home) meant a trip into the depths of fantasy, and essentially a search for meaning? Let me know.