Monday, May 18

the new microcosm

I don't know exactly, but something about those shelves... the shelves where they stack all the new books. the cool books. the famous, the favourites, the sponsored, the special. these shelves are supposed to get my attention first thing, and they do. they set things spinning and flying inside me, these full-frontal, generously spaced, wonderfully lit rows of beautiful books, their paperback covers curving out, their bodies tilted back just so...

last week on the campus that is not my campus, in a library that is not my library, a large hardcover full of color and shadows peeked at me from behind a few textbooks. in that impetuous, spasmodic, book-addict way of mine I pulled it down and smuggled it with me to a chair not far away. I knew I could not take this book home. I was not a student there, I had paid no fees and I had no library card. I had no right to this book. but as long as I was there on that campus I was determined to make friends with it, so when I saw it again I would know.
I had told myself that day that I would spend my time in this foreign library writing. I have a short story to finish, an illustrated nightmare... and I did work on it. I had my notebook. I had a handful of pens. I had those characters drilling holes in my skull, kicking dents in my mind.

inbetween short, scribbled paragraphs I flipped the pages of Ms. Barry's neatly bound collage. her own short, scribbled paragraphs dug right into me like plastic spoons into soft ice cream. this is not merely a book I need to take home from a library, I decided. this one just might need me to visit a real bookstore.

I reluctantly left the gorgeous thing sitting on the desk, gathering up my notebook and pens and fidgeting characters into my bag and going on with my day. as soon as I got home I looked up this new title in the library catalog and reserved the soonest available copy for myself.

today it arrived. I will keep it as long as the library allows. if it still speaks to me after I have wandered back and forth through every last inch of print between its covers, I will somehow acquire my very own.

{image courtesy some kind soul on flickr}

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