Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My dance card is full

I've just been reading a book of essays given to me by Hashem. It's a collection of ponderings of contemporary authors on the "future of writing," in all its ambiguity ("writing," "future," and "future of writing").

For me, a book, in whatever form it takes--hardbound copy, paperback, electronic version, online instrument, text downloaded on a cell phone, even a story read orally--a book is actually a place, a place where we, as adults, still have the chance to engage in active imagining, translating word to image, connecting these images to memories, dreams, and larger ideas.
--Joe Meno, "A book is a place"


As I was reading on, I hit a slightly less engaging piece and began to glaze over a bit. Thinking of potential non-dog-earing bookmarks, I thought of my friend the post-it. And then I was overcome by one of the most visceral memories I've had in a long time.

I don't know who it was, or when, but I saw the hands of a teacher, removing the post-it from her page and replacing it in a later page, sliding her thumb gently across the sticky edge, and reading aloud to us. The note was never dirty or dingy, but from use had grown a certain softness--one which I only ever speculated about--how soft it looked, how I wished to also run my thumb along it. So thin, against the page.

And then I was taken to other reading memories, like loving the way my teachers would hold books as they turned them around to show the class the pictures. I would practice at home, sometimes holding it away from myself and off to the right even when there were no pictures to show my imaginary audience. I would watch the fingers, how they maneuvered back and forth.

And how, still, there is something about the way certain books and pages feel that takes me straight back to the days before I could even read, but when I would make up my own stories, turning the pages as I went along, joined by family, who always listened so attentively and never called my bluff.

I crave the feeling of a book sometimes more than actually reading it--just to be with it.


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