My lover is an open book.
Currently I am intimate with three:
White Noise by Don DeLillo. Hilarious, beautiful, and strange.
Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett. “Lovely, lyrical, and deeply informative”.
The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf. “A big, magnificent, and adventurous book”.
Each is easy on the eyes, lovely to hold, and stimulating to my gray cells.
It depends on my mood which one I take to my bed.
I love a good conversation with a good book before falling asleep. Pillow talk is both provocative and conducive to interesting dreams.
My intimates are most passionate, as am I.
I am good with words. I make my living with words, but they often best me. Words drip like honey from their pens: quotable things describing intimate things — like this brief delight from Don DeLillo.
Babette and I have turned our lives for each other’s thoughtful regard, turned them in the moonlight in our pale hands, spoken deep into the night about our fathers and mothers, childhoods, friendships, awakenings, old loves, fears (except for fear of death). No detail must be left out, not even a dog with ticks or a neighbor’s boy who ate an insect on a dare. The smell of pantries, the sense of empty afternoons, the feel of things as they rained across our skin, things as facts and passions, the feel of pain, loss, disappointment, breathless delight. In these night recitations, we create a space between things as we felt them at the time and as we speak them now. This is the space reserved for irony, sympathy, and fond amusement, the means by which we rescue ourselves from the past.
Such language, it makes me jealous.
Books are also a sensual thing to hold in the hand: smooth pages, ragged edges, the whiff of oak trees and earth.
And there is something evocative about the printed word, being engaged in black and white. As sentences slither from left to right, my moods shift from dark to light.
And books are a perpetual tease. Turn the page! Turn the page! Breathless, I dream of what is on the other side. It is so tantalizing to believe that if I just get to end of this chapter, I will be satisfied.
And the best of books, of course, make me think. They not only get into my bed; they get into my head. They puzzle me, challenge me. They expand my inner space and widen my outer world.
I will never be an astronaut but I have explored the cosmos. I will never be a philosopher but I have pondered by Walden Pond. I will never be a botanist but flowers and weeds both grow wild in my head.
All for the love of a good book.
Tumbled between the sheets, my lovers lie spent. Their covers lost. Their spines broken. Their pages torn. Their corners bent.
No man can possibly compete.
Or can he?
Next week I take the plunge and dive in deep. I start sixteen weeks of intensive training at the Library of Congress — where I will get to hear, see, and taste all of the delights this great Temple of Learning has to offer: its collections and its history; its rumors and its secrets.
Who knows who I might bump into in the hallways or meet up with behind the stacks?
There’s nothing like a sexy librarian to make me weak in the knees. The possibility of a literary assignation in the corridors of the LOC — lights me up like a firefly.
Yes, a bibliophile’s dream.
Just one more week on S&TSV.
The Rev: Joani
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