Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

even when i am underwater, i dream of endless libraries....

Even when I am underwater, edits fast and deep and hard for contracts that wound up behind, behind, behind, for no one's fault but the way the schedules happened to happen, and I am underwater, and even when I am underwater, I breathe in the eternity of books. I think about how wonderful it would be to live in a large library, like in Doctor Who, where I can spend my long days on an endless hiking trip through the stacks, stopping at comfortable chairs to eat, and foraging among the supply closets for food and medical supplies as needed.

Imagine the scene, pushing on past the Egyptian heiroglyphic texts, which are written in languages lost to time, a puzzle for another adventurer to unravel, and seeing in the distance, a stack of books bound in leather suggesting that there might be European texts ahead, in languages known and unknown, but perhaps--mostly--known.

A quick swing through the nearest corridor reveals a treasure trove: a janitor's abandoned cache of snack foods and whiskey, still edible in the plastic coating after some unknown time spent here. The whiskey as aged as the books upon the shelves and smooth as dreaming.

Another treasure found: a map of the library written in sanskrit. You can't read anything, but you can make out the pictures. You see the shape ahead. In prior journeys, you found a rosetta stone in a card catalogue. You pull out the entries stolen there, an entry on the Literary Criticism of American/English Fiction of James Fennimore Cooper. Under the Sanskrit section, you think you can make out the symbols for English and Fiction, which you search the map to find. There, around a corner, up a ladder, and down a spiraling corridor that leads to a river. You leave behind the last book you read, as a marker of where you have already been. No need to walk in circles here, searching for something among familiar stacks. You can press onward, ever onward. Another hallway! Another landing! Another shelf! Another mystery of what may be next! Adventure novels! Memoirs! Fiction Textbooks from Many Centuries! Translations of Icelandic Novels of the Nineteenth Century! Onward, ever onward!

Even when I am underwater with deadlines, my mind wonders what book will be discovered next among the endless stacks of the libraries of the world. I don't have time to eat, or to blog, or to sleep, but my mind lingers on the question of what wonderful think I will find next.

Recent things I adored: Of Mothers and Other Monsters by Maureen McHugh; The Wind-Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi; Clarkesworld's Latest Issue; and more, always more.

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