The Fascination with Books
Me and my wife have been long standing bookworms. We used to go to book stores whenever we traveled in the bay area, for the experience of being surrounded by books, before this COVID-thing. Something about libraries, book stores, art museums, and similar nooks and crannies of the big city have some draw on our subconscious needs.
I feel it like a stretch of the mind, a pull on the heartstrings, a deep welling of the blood toward these things. It’s the aching yearning angst that dwells on what possibilities are out there, if only we knew what the world had in store in full knowledge, and only if we could understand how the things work — at least the things that matter.
I feel a similar draw now for the Eucharist, that the devout Catholics can understand — that feeling that we are needing a fill to this hunger, this thirst, as we soon will be filled again when we can celebrate mass as much as before as society will allow within its safety measures.
The things that matter in life most, according to society, are living for those that have a voice… that voice has been conflicted with each other when we disagree on issues, and in some cases, as the Catholic one, we wish that all would be able to live and to be secured their place in everlasting life.
Back to books.
The understanding of our magnetic relations with literature and aesthetic beauty is described best by feelings, by the sensations that it includes. Paper’s scent of wood like the breeze between pine trees when camping near a stream. The scents of candles, incense, warmed waxes, or aromatherapy in the lighting of whimsical creative minds with the sounds of people talking over warm flavored coffees in plush pillowed faux-leather sofas.
Touches of color and clean-cut lettering in decorative fonts.
These are a few of my favorite things.
The taste of vanilla Starbucks Cappuccinos and sweet home crafted ice-cold Earl Grey tea in a glass bottle.
Soft luxurious isolating surrounding studio headphones and a whirring black smooth plastic tape player with sliding graphic equalizer bars set to bring out the subtle melancholia of nostalgic love songs in a dream state on cloudy cold afternoons in my 80s style leather jacket in my young adult years where everything seemed so simple and direct and in control.
Independent films played in felt bright orange chairs with stiff firmness as the artistic truths were seemingly not yet tainted by the technological fascinations of the generations to come.
Lazy-boy sofas with family gatherings where all of my close relatives — and me — were still learning things new for the first time and still small and soft and smooth and young and vibrant with energy that made the colors bright as the blurry Christmas tree lights that halo around the sounds of joy and laughter and the warmest hearts still alive to tell them you love and care for them forever.
The sunsets on the top of a three bail hay stack or in the high limbs of the old walnut tree as the red light of the radio tower on yellow grassed hills in the distance blinked with a seeming steadiness that told of security and of the continuation of things going on into infinity with a sense of peace inside.
When I pray and open my heart to Jesus, those feelings return in a moment, but when I open myself up to the worries and concerns that focus on the worldly aspects of things instead of the beauty God has and is directly related to, then it fades until I can regain focus.
Books are worlds I used to dive into headlong and get caught up in, miss my bus stop in and have to wait an hour or two for the school bus to return the trip on the next round with and worry my parents before cellphones with. I would read science fiction before they shortened it to sci-fi, I think. I would focus on hard science fiction, the kind that has some basis on fact and theory of the current world projected by logical minds to their logical conclusions to make them visualized in a way that made them more real.
I would laugh and cry and love in those worlds, and my near sighted eyes would not be able to see the world passing around me, and yet I would not trade those etched stories away. I would merely pace myself and live out things more carefully and actually plan.
That’s something I never did: plan ahead.
This blog post began with the fascination, and is lived in the moment, as I am drawn now to the thought that with COVID and the world closing in with perhaps not long before the last of us catch it and possibly, with my or my family’s not perfect health being at risk, perhaps need to live out not only book stories but those of our mutual living through this one. This story. This life.
Writing. I am drawn to books in a sense as I am drawn to write. I listen, as I call my reading, in order to hear those stories and to be able to reflect on how they relate to my own.
We all need to listen to everyone’s stories and reflect on how it relates to their own, and consider with an open mind the possibilities of what we might be able to do better with our decisions and in what we do with our lives.
Plan then… plan ahead. This time I end my blog with a call to action for not just me, but for those reading, to plan what bucket list one wants to do.
What one would regret not doing. What we want to do that we have some control over. What we would do to improve how we are living, now and in the coming years, for ourselves and for those closest to us. And how in the small acts of kindness we can focus on what we can do for everyone around us and change, bit by bit, the world.
I can continue writing. I can love my wife to the fullest as I would want to be loved. I can love my family and friends so that we have no regrets of missed connections. I can avoid wasting those small things that go without value, and replace them with things that matter more and teach myself to live with quality living. With passion.