Sunday, November 05, 2006

Heaving bosoms and throbbing... stuff

I never feel so acquisitive as when I walk into a bookstore.

Sometimes I'm just overcome by my lust for words. I want to devour poetry and prose and the lyrics to CanCon rock/alternative songs I listened to in the 90's. Some authors leave me with a physical sensation after reading their work; there's a taste on my tongue and a weight on my body. In some high school English course, I remember coming across a quote by Coleridge. It defined prose as words in the best order and poetry as the best words in the best order. I don't think I really agree with that but I understand what he means. There's a point where the beauty of the prose is such that it feels like poetry. I'd rather read a dull book than a poorly written one.

I'm not sure what brought on this disjointed rhapsodizing. I'm just craving words right now. I can't find the right ones myself that will explain the near sensuous pleasure of walking into a used book store and breathing in the scent of crumbling, acid-yellowed paper and the older, crisper pages that hold up so much better with time.

One of my favourite poets is Rainer Maria Rilke. What astounds me about his writing is how beautiful it is even though I'm only reading the translations into English from the original German. It makes me wonder what I'm missing. I know that when I write I agonize over every word, waiting for one with the right weight, the right consonants next to the correct vowels. Even in translation Rilke's work consists of the best words in the best order which seems like magic to me.

Different authors do different things. I love Saki's sometimes morbid humour and William Gibson has the ability to make me feel like I've been drowning in his work and have finally come up for air at the end of it, especially in Neuromancer. Right now I'm reading a collection of Calvin and Hobbes comics and they're just so funny and disturbing; they remind me of Saki actually.

Truth is, I like books better than I like most people.


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