Bookmarks and Other Worlds

Monday, October 20, 2014


I'm reading Åsa Larsson's mystery series. I'm on my fourth one, and have one more to go. I've read them slowly, a handful of chapters every night. But also quickly. In just a couple weeks. I am still surprised how quickly a book can be read a little at a time. One of the surprises of adulthood.

I grew up reading stacks of books, but never used bookmarks. Never needed them. I read start to finish. Whole days swallowed up between the covers of a book. I'd read until it got too dark to see, and then stir to turn on a light. Reading was my education.

Now I stretch out stories between days, weeks. I've learned to set down books. To pick them up for a moment here and there. During the time the water takes to boil. In the half hour before bed. Bookmarks are necessary things now, in calm adulthood. Even if it's just a dogeared page, so gentle it doesn't always work.

Another surprise is the joy I find in picking up a book at the end of the day. Tucked down  under the covers, about to lay to rest all the unfinished things, I pick up one more unfinished thing. It eases me through the transition from productivity to rest. Through the dense guilt that collects and clings to the slowing down, the laying to rest. It's somehow defiant to pick up a book, to say, I'm finished with today, and then exist for awhile in another world.






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© The Attic at Anderwood Maira Gall.