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Friday, March 13, 2009

Interlude

I am happy to say that three months into 2009, I am fulfilling my resolutions, and enjoying my short sabbatical away from all things technical.

Personal Pilgrimage

During January and February, while England has been visited by snow not seen for a generation, I have been visiting places that were important to readers of my generation.

My pilgrimage of the local libraries in Northampton is going well, and I am enjoying getting reacquainted with those places I feel such an affinity for, that sometimes it is hard to describe.

We can fit all the libraries in the world into a computer, but we cannot fit its smell, its texture, its experience to emanate from a shiny monitor. We are people borne of muted sound, of words, of texture. Libraries house all this, and much, much more.

Some of my readers will laugh at this, but some days I think that being a librarian must be the best job in the world.

Their houses shelve old friends to jog our memory and new ones that open our mind to journeys yet to be taken. These keepers of information, of secrets, of dreams, are people standing at the threshold of a special kind of alchemy; words spun with gold and such treasures to keep even the most inkthirsty of pirates amongst us happy.

Possibly this is why I prefer the older libraries. It adds to the mystique of the metaphor. The dustier the books are the better, for dust signifies life as much as it does stagnation. You just have to look closer. Or maybe wiping away the dust, in a childful mind, conjures up images of moving away the top soil as though digging for the treasure inside.

Plus, second-hand books are even better to read, because I believe that every reader imparts a little bit of themselves into the book with each read.

So, when I read a book, I not only read the story in its pages, but I watch out for the small marker trails left by others that came before me to the story. Sometimes the notes made, or the top corner creases on the pages that reveal another reader has left a marker or given a pause, adds weight to the story in a way that brand new books cannot do.

It is in such, small ways that libraries are a house of humanity, because they house our humanity.

Postscript

I am writing, too (with pen and paper believe it or not) and I am questioning and thinking about our world. I am trying to come up with answers, with ways that will help and guide me better through this life.

I am making notes, and I hope to share as much as I feel I can with you all.

So, please, everyone take care until then.

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