When I Look At My Room

I see a girl who loves books.

Who loves John Green. Who wishes she were Alaska looking to find the meaning behind The Great Perhaps. In a less fatalistic way. While I’m all for getting plastered and drawing daisies, I’m not for driving headfirst into death. Post getting plastered and daisy drawing. Lines have to be drawn somewhere. With a big red pen.

“Have you really read all those books in your room?”

Alaska laughing- “Oh God no. I’ve maybe read a third of ‘em. But I’m going to read them all. I call it my Life’s Library. Every summer since I was little, I’ve gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read.”

That’s why I read. For that moment when you read something, a feeling, a life-scene, a poignancy that you’d thought particular to you, a quirk embedded in your DNA, and there it is. In black and white by a person on another continent perhaps, and it’s like they’ve reached out to give you a hug. You feel like the author and their characters could be your best friends. You would finish many bottles of wine, countless cans of beer and packs of cigarettes together. You would tell them your stories, your memories. You would talk the night away, a conversation that would continue forever.

See, I have my Life’s Library. All the books I’ve collected that I haven’t read. Books with obscure titles, books of French fables and Indian philosophy, books with no plot but filled with such loveliness of words, I’m scared to read them, because once I do and I finish it, it’ll be over. So I hoard them for days when I’ll need them. Painfully. Days when they’ll wink at me from stacks on the floor, from haphazard piles on shelves.

Those books exist for when I feel dull. When I feel tepid and stodgy. When I want to feel like I could write love letters in French, sew magic into chiffon dresses, give birth to dragons, climb trees to escape death, take road trips for no rhyme or reason, and create theorems that could predict the end of relationships.

When I look at myself, I think I can find the meaning of my Great Perhaps in the pages of my Life’s Library.


One thought on “When I Look At My Room

  1. Ah, “When I look at myself, I think I can find the meaning of my Great Perhaps in the pages of my Life’s Library.” When I read much of what you write, and how you write it, and lines such as the above, I say to myself, “this is a young woman to be watched.” Books, I say: sure. But we are the the real story.

    I see books, the great ones, as read and then tossed on the damp soil at our feet, where they decompose, sink into the ground, nourish it, to be absorbed and carried from our roots upward. And perhaps, if there is enough rain and sunlight in our lives, one day that nourishment will be carried up the trunk, through the branches, and out to the heavy hanging fruit which are our acts of love and compassion, and maybe our books.

    Would that one day they are, and perhaps even nourish the soil beneath another, straining upwards towards the light.

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