Recently I’ve been very picky when it comes to fiction and could not find everything I wanted from a good book in one and the same volume (hmmm, can it be a metaphor for something else :-)? ) Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance: an inquiry into values” was a bestseller in the 70s but I somehow missed it even in the 90s. As it often happens in life, we found each other when the time’s right. This book has it all, as simple as that. I might think otherwise in a couple of years but that would be a different me, wouldn’t it?
A book like this I want to keep close to me at all times, as though through physical proximity some of its energy can spill over and become part of me. I missed this sort of reading when every time you open a book is like going on a date: will it be as good as the previous one?; can we connect today?
You can tell the books I fell in love with by their ragged looks: this one is stained with coffee, another has done a beautiful recovery after taking a dive into the bubble bath where it followed me while the third one is preserving the dried petals of the rose my boyfriend at the time bought for me in Tallinn on that romantic week-end, our one and only trip together. (Or did I fall for that particular book because I was so much into that boy? Must be so because both the book and the boy hold no mysteries for me now and the only way for them to do a comeback into my life is to change in the most profound way, story and all but then it would be a different book and a different boy).
Those read books are much more now than a bunch of old stories. They hold memories of the times when they entered my life and touched it in one way or another. As I leaf through the pages of “Atonement“, my body recalls the nausea I felt at some point as an expression of longing, desire for events to unfold as I wished.
When a book like that finds me, I don’t rush it. On the contrary, I put it away for a few hours, just when it gets most captivating, intentionally increasing the intensity of the longing, bringing forth butterflies in the stomach. Occasionally, I throw a look on the book, walk by or even lift it up and look at it closely, anticipating the moment when I slowly will run the fingers over the cover (I don’t believe for a second that a digital version will bring up the same sense of connection) , find the page where I stopped (no bookmark!) and breath out, “What have we here”?
I know it is not always going to be a smooth ride. I will have to live through it, and there is no telling ahead what’s behind the next turn but once I’ve recognised the treasure I’ve found, I commit to staying with it, with what it brings up in me and open to being transformed by this experience. Time stops. I am lost to the world and to myself. Yet I have a feeling of coming home, coming to myself. In a way I get reminded of something I’ve known all along…
Lovers do not finally
They are in one another
When was the last time YOU were lost in a book? What were the feelings it brought up in you?