Thursday, September 23

just turn around

I will never run out of things to read. and I suppose that could be a comforting thought, given how much I've always loved it.

but maybe it's a curse?

I can't imagine what it would feel like to have read everything there is to read. to have come to the end of the very last sentence of the very last book... but presumably it would be a triumphant sort of feeling. a great and undeniable accomplishment.

or an emptiness. as if everything good has just ended.

however, having read everything there is to read would not mean you wouldn't be allowed to read some of it again. if you wanted to. so probably the emptiness would not be that bad, and you would be able to focus most of your attention on the triumph and achievement.

so, if I may gently tug this line of reasoning back on itself once more, the fact that I will never run out of things to read means I will never know what it feels like, triumph or what.

currently in the stack of half-read books on my floor: I Thought My Father Was God (still), Cultural Amnesia (still), Good Morning, Midnight (again), The Affinity Bridge, Click, On the Pleasure of Hating, and About a Boy. and those are only the half-read ones. there are a few completely un-touched ones. not to mention a few on my bookshelf, and the hundreds I haven't yet gotten around to bringing home from the library.

there are stories everywhere. right this minute there are stories happening. stories noticed and unnoticed. stories that are truth, stories that are based on truth, and stories that have flown so far away from the truth it's hard to even imagine how they could have gotten from pure truth to pure story. I used to wonder which stories were worth telling. who makes that decision? the people who tell and retell the stories? the people who listen?

I Thought My Father Was God is a compilation of true stories, all collected as part of a National Story Project. that would be a pretty awesome project to be a part of, don't you think? I am not quite half-way through the book and I still don't know where it got its title. maybe that story is near the end. or maybe the title isn't from one of the stories. maybe it's just cryptic and interesting.

the stories... they are all true, but with a little bit of something fantastic on top. a thin layer of what Pratchett would call narrativium. but not too much--just enough to make them more story-like than any old answer to the question 'how's your day going, then?'

there are one hundred and eighty of them. I'm sure the National Story Project collected many more than that, but these are the good ones. well, the ones Mr. Paul Aster thought were good, anyway. I am reading them and thinking, of course, about how my own life's mundane (and less mundane) events might be so transformed into beautiful and easily retold narratives. some of the events from my past are more ready for this than others.

we've established the fact that I will never run out of stories to read. okay.

now, answer me the question: will I ever run out of stories to tell?

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