Sunday, August 28, 2005

somehow we've become like the library of congress.

"This guy named Fritz something was eating a lot of Twinkies. Fritz's girlfriend was talking to him about women's rights, and he kept saying, 'I know, baby.'"

and there was just something about the way we fit; similar to the way all books end up looking just fine in the same size bookshelf, even though they're all totally different...especially when it comes down to the words. i guess the whole thing can be attributed to a metaphor about library books, really. we are the books. and so we attain certain qualities that define them. and we read each other just as we would 'catcher in the rye' or 'watership down.' checked out for the year, we've been hiding under stacks of newspapers, sitting on desks, stuffed between the cushions of couches. there are dog earred corners, rings left on our covers by coffee mugs, and maybe even a few missing pages. the pink ink of a highlighter has left indelibile stains in the paper, running through to the other side accidentally and revealing strange new coincidences about the use of the letters "L" and "E". specifically together. we've got these barcodes stuck to the backs of our [necks], which are supposed to identify us in an instance, but really...they're so old now that it seems like half the numbers don't make sense anymore and the lines really are just lines.

we are the books, and others are our books. sometimes to re-read the old stories just doesn't feel right, as if your eyes won't stay focused on the words long enough to comprehend the subject and end up skipping around to find audience with flashes of light or a mosquito bite itch. a search and rescue party will be attempted [carrying the book back and forth in the front seat of your car, explaining to yourself that you will read it tomorrow.] eventually these books will be re-read, or discovered by another, but for now, they'll sit on shelves and gather that most amazing smell of must and old paper. the worst case is often the most amicable on the surface, which may cause even greater suffering upon the realization of the unfortunate state in which the book lies. this is when one returns to a comfortable favorite, or a story that floats fondly in the reminiscence of your childhood. that kind of book that you always remembered adoring when you were younger, but never found the time to pick up again. or the one you read over and over, just because it was there and because nothing better had ever taken your heart as thoroughly as that had one particular summer. you return to its pages out of habit, and comfort...not that either is a negative, just that the inspiration disappeared steadily from the experience until reading the words had become like walking; entirely acceptable and enjoyable, but not quite the same as skipping. when glancing over these books in the 'recently returned' bin, your eyes will light up and, immediately, the urge to lounge around in a bathrobe with a banana smoothie overcomes all other responsibility. you've been parted so long with your darling novel, the change is not immediately noticeable. but the longer you read, the more distasteful it becomes. this is not what you remember! what happened to the intrigue, and the quirky humor, and the charming wit? when did it become so awkward and contradictory to your opinions, and dare you think it...meaningless? you'll try to enjoy it like you once did, but somehow, it won't quite ever be the same.

before you dismiss the library as a place of misfortune, sit down on a couch and pick up one of those old favorites that used to make your brain simmer with anticipation for every word. at least three of them have just been left in the box, go quick before they're taken! as you flip through the first few pages, scanning for familiar sentences and more slowly recalling character flaws, you'll find that some of those books you loved so much before you were checked out last year still hold as much of your love as they did before. before you were covered in coffee stains and scribbled on with black ink...before your pages were bent and warped by the rain...before your spine was cracked twice too many and the lines of age began to show in your face...these were the ones who were stacked by you on the shelf. but as it turns out...returning you to the same shelf isn't such a bad idea, and re-reading and being re-read isn't such a bad idea either. somehow, the comfort clung to the pages along with the travelling wear of the new places you've all been. but the excitement hasn't disappeared, and those lines you found so amusing and endearing and intelligent before are still just as good!

love to my loves. hide and seek, josianas, polaroids, ice cream, paint, sleep deprivation, sunburn, thespians, the opposite sex. swing sets, river beds, cocktails, roadtrips, head phones, equilateral triangles, windows, cake! it's time for bed, so long for now.
ps. i still adore you.

i found this outside an elementary school. i like to think it's a preliminary outline of some kid's ambitious, world-altering plot. -found.

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