The world's news is switched off and the lesson commences: the current book opened at the place I left off the night before, or the first page of a new subject turned; each greeted like a respected teacher about to impart new knowledge: Morning Friend, did you miss me? or Hello, it's nice to make your acquaintance – I hope in time we'll become good friends.
made, I focus on their words, fix my being to the spot for the next
forty-five minutes to an hour. My unchanging surroundings fade in and
out as background noise fluctuates, oscillates and softens. Nothing,
except the printed word, allowed to fully infiltrate, as I, their
faithful pupil take it in.
I'm studying (at any time of day) I immerse myself in it: leap into a
pool of words . The lengths I manage measured in pages, those read
and absorbed. How far have I got? Have I been drawn in deeper or am I
still at the shallow end? Sometimes I'm in so deep I can't speak
because to critique would break the spell, whereas if I'm still
paddling I reserve passing judgement too soon. Some books take longer
than others to get into, some books have you in their grip straight
away and don't let go till the happy or bitter ending; others are
middling, enjoyed at the time but instantly forgettable.
neutral feeling leaves me cold: the not caring one way or another
what happens, what is happening, and yet determined to reach the
final word on the final page. Never giving up, even though I might
close the book and think what
was that about? I want to feel sated and left feeling hungry; I want
to have soared and to have died; I want to have learnt something
about myself and possibly something of the author; I want to feel
inspired and encouraged. I expect a lot from a book, but in exploring
you also learn what you like. Above all, I want to have gained an
insight into another world, a way of life that might be very
different to mine or similar.
spate of time does not exist in books. You can traverse in many
directions, and feel no qualms at doing so. I actually find it slows
or quickens up time as you know it. Your pace can be rushed whilst
the outside world counts the minutes and seconds, or it can be like a
luxurious wallow where time, any concept of time, is neglected; in
emerging from either you have to adjust, reset your senses to the
what I have plenty of, or at least that's what others assume, but
none of it is wasted or abused. Interests that were hibernating have
awoken, those that weren't allowed to develop before now have me in
their thrall. The thirst for knowledge is unabated – I read, think,
read, research, write, and still want more, more. More vintage
classics, more translated into English literature, more recordings of
history, more fantasy, more author memoirs or biographies, more
renowned or not so widely read works, and yet more of the previously
heard of but unread until he, she or it makes itself known to me.
voyage of discovery, one with no land in sight, just a perpetual sea,
which flows onwards into art, photography, black and white film,
historical events and public figures. An education that travels down
through the ages like a family tree or pans out as a camera does as
you keep reading and ingesting material.
given myself the rare gift of being a scholar, a home-schooled
scholar without the privileges that seemed common in the days of E.
M. Forster and Henry James, in order to form a sole member literati
who debates with opposing sides of herself and with non-existing
individuals. It's a bit like a gentleman's club, except it contains
no cigars and only one gentlewoman with a plethora of books.
Picture Credit: The Yellow Books, c.1887, Vincent Van Gogh