Literary Withdrawal: Death of a Book.
By Susan Marie
I sit in the dark quiet of my sanctuary, the place I come to write, and am overcome by a stabbing inherent fear that books, like many of its authors, shall one day become extinct.
This revelation came to me because I was forced to purchase a tape cassette recorder to listen to a tape, and as held it in my hand, found myself thinking: I cannot believe I found one to buy.
Think of LP’s. (Oh, how I miss LP’s.) There truly is nothing like an album. Artwork, like tattoos, scrolled across the flaps of the cover and on the inside. That’s when the band invited You inside of Their minds for an hour or two.
(Then I wondered if I purchased a turntable, would I be able to find a needle to set beneath the arm?)
Thank goodness for eBay, garage sales and used bookstores.
You must take pride in being the owner of a used bookstore. A secret society where members peruse old wooden shelving like mad Norsemen, pillaging layers of books, blowing cobwebs from dusty covers, uncovering a treasure or two.
A book is the fruit of self. Knowledge unsurpassed. Everything I have learned has come mainly from books.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore mainstream bookstores. As a rule, I live in them.
Soak myself up in an overstuffed chair, an Italian Soda by my side, a stack of books at my feet, music I have never heard before playing overhead as I delve into Welsh Heritage, Kool-Aid Acid Trips, Nature, Photography, Art and Poetry.
When entering a bookstore, I bypass the front tables streamed with discounts and deals. New authors with their third book published about the exact same things they said in the first one. I head straight to the back, where the literature is hiding.
You can always tell they attempt to hide it. Ask someone working there exactly where the Lit section is and they point you toward… someplace… over… there. (In reality, they have no idea what Literature is.)
Poetry is the second section I visit, then on to biographies, music, art, photography, and lastly, the horribly sad cart where tattered books lie that nobody wants. The cart of misfits. It is here I always find a volume to keep. Maybe because I, myself, am a misfit and that’s okay. I like being different.
I am surrounded by books. They are best friends to me. A book is life itself breathing inside, waiting for you to discover an entirely new world created by another’s psyche.
How truly fascinating.
An old book possesses something entirely different. They are my favorites to own. I often wonder how many people cried, felt happiness, pain, grief, love, enlightenment from handling this book now in my possession.
The corners are tattered a bit, sure, but this gives it persona. It tells you it doesn’t fuck around, man, and it is meant to be read because it has been read. Now it’s your turn to ride that steep climb up the first hill of a coaster.
Get ready, the turn is coming; you can feel it now, can’t you?
The existential drop of your belly as you lift from your seat and remain airborne for a millisecond that lasts a lifetime, just to be dropped straight downhill into an inferno that brings you around dark corners, through forests, screaming wild and flipping pages as night turns into day.
This causes me to think of not only the books, but the writers I pay homage to. Where have they all gone? Why is it that they are noticed after their death, after their struggle, after their entire lives have been a complete and utter hell interspersed with momentary lapses of euphoric bliss?
I use the word homage well, because they are all quite stone cold dead.
(Ahh, but not in the pages. Within the pages, they survive. This is their gift, the gift of any writer to the reader. Regeneration by pure esoteric thought.)
I think of Hemingway… poor Papa. No longer could he write, he could not think after they strapped his brilliance to the electro shocks and stripped him of his gift. It is no wonder he chose solace with one of his prized shotguns.
Kerouac. The thing with Jack is he saw so much fucking beauty, traveled so far, ran with bums, slept in alleys, and walked in freezing temperatures in order to feel life in his veins as his own blood. Jack set out on what he meant to do. Jack had a purpose, and when it was met, he was done.
Jack was beat.
I could talk for hours on authors gone home, yet fear boring you right out of your mind.
Besides, you really should be reading something of worth. Lawrence Ferlinghetti must be lonely.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” ~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Susan Marie is a Broadcast Journalist, Public Relations Executive, Radio Producer, UNV, Human Rights Advocate, IT Tech, spoken word poet, and published author. Her writing has been translated to Hindi, Croatian, Spanish and Dari. You could contact Susan via her website.