Nov 18, 2006

In the company of friends.

Waiting on my furniture delivery as I start to work through boxes of books that we've had in storage for more than a year. Actually, it may have been even longer than that. Once upon a time, I imagined a life with many bookshelves everywhere. The clutter of that vision wasn't as clear then as it is now, but I think we're working on creating an organic space where we can read, relax, and just check the troubles of the world at the door like your bag at a small downtown shop.

There is something so soothing about being in the company of books, not only for the stories that lie within, but the particular stories that the physical books elicit from your own life - the memory of the person who gifted you that favorite book, the fossilized record of friendships that no longer exist either as the result of attrition, distance, or an actual parting of the ways. The memories of a self we once were, and the impact of the words of others upon our own writing, thinking, being.

I loved to read, and the first year of law school almost kicked that from me, but I feel a resurgence. I ordered American Born Chinese (still waiting) and just received Li-Young Lee's latest collection (an impromptu reading of one of his poems for a visiting friend reminded me that I missed my poetry, which I'd shoved away in a box without ceremony... the sounds I heard at night were the poems calling for release, they needed to breathe again). But all this in good time.


flygirl said...

i agree with every thought on this. blueberry fool had similar thoughts. i can't see the loss in buying books that people go on about - you can't read one book too many times (well, unless it's trash). and as you say, like some albums, it's a record of times in your life. I'm still waiting for High Fidelity with books

my brother and i were trying to work out why we kept watching Harry Potter over and over and realised it was for the fantasy of ancient architechture with an ancient library, a chair by a fire and a universe of many, many old books.

Rage said...

Thanks for sharing. I definitely feel like it would be hard for me to kick my book-buying habit, especially now that I have a little more space in which to put them. I have this guilty pleasure of checking the bargain book sections in almost every bookstore I visit - ever looking for the lost treasure to recover and finally place in an appropriate showcase (third shelf on the 4th bookcase, please), the delectable deal, or in the very least, a gag gift for someone.

And yes, I definitely feel like music captures and encapsulates time for us in a way that very little else can do (and be easily shared with someone else without much effort on their part).

It's like our music collections and libraries are some kind of organic personal genome in which to find elements of our personalities, character traits, and even memories. I have a piece I've been working on forever about that same concept, looking at the way that film songs from the 40s and 50s have that kind of effect (maybe much more profound) for our parents' generation of desi immigrants/sojouners.