Monday, June 4, 2012

Put That Book Down

There is always that feeling when you hold your first book for the first time after a reading hiatus. You grip it in a funny way. It feels crisp (more so if it's fresh from the bookstore racks) even if it is dog eared, it looks clean even if it has coffee circles, smells excitingly new even if it stank of mildew. And yet, all these feelings recur in whiff of replay. Everything seems familiar, everything feels right.

Flipping the first few pages, leaving from the time you went AWOL, images surge right back in. Like you're being sucked in by that old friend of a black hole you so spent sleepless nights with. It's like a dirty reunion between two lovers after shots of whiskey: the emotions are there and the feelings are stamped and broken in but the outcome could not always translate to a happier morning after. You just create this mental image that the author describes, and you so vividly reimagine. As far as the emotions go, they linger for a while and then they brush off. For feelings new and old, they stick like spit after a wash of cold beer and a mouthful of starchy food.

Being in the suburbs, feeling the sprawl. Waiting on an island where sanity is as good as the other. Sleeping in a coma and imagining things as reality or just musings of a child at heart with illustrations of childhood fantasy, all these stories speak to you as you hold this book awkwardly after a slight or for others, long break with it. Identifying yourself with one of the characters is always a risk if not an inspiration. It triggers episodes of mixed emotions that somehow are that hard to contain. It flashes images and scenes that have been long forgotten, and it creates new insecurities and uncertainties. Idea is indeed contagious.

You sympathize with people in the pages. You feel their seething hearts. You aspire with them in their dreams. You get your heart broken the same time they found out about the abortion. You realize things in their eyes and in the author's words than your everyday life permits. The epiphany comes after closing the book, inserting a coupon in between pages you left, you lay down in bed open-eyed in a tearful jerk. You shudder as you dream of writing your own story in your own book, it's a pity life does not work that way. You wake up, do your job, go home, eat, check your email then drown in the pages of mixed sorrow and temporary happiness. What a sweet way to die: in pages of an author you wish to rape in adoration of his/her work.

Though that kiss would probably taste better in real life. That unending liplock, the intertwined limbs, just rolling in the sheets in a sweaty melee. You better drop that book before you unintentionally digest it.

This cycle goes on and on.

That engaging bunch of papers cost about, what, 500? 600? It will probably mean more to you than some of your pricey gadgets. The thrill of reading that thing will engage you more, or maybe just a little, than your twitter feed or facebook page. It will remind you of more things, it will make you cry, make you thank for life and second chances. Or maybe, it'll just be another trash that you couldn't bear to see shake the can.

Just say "Thank you" to the person or event that made you take back up reading. Now, you have to wake up and long for the smell of ink and genuine recycled paper. Just the idea of that smell alone is enough material for an author to work with. See? Patterns are everywhere.

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