There is always a new book awaiting. One I have just finished; The Box by Gunter Grass. I stand up from my office chair. Like all office chairs it’s comfortable in a profane sense. It always seduces me to sleep; makes me work one minute less than the time to finish. It loves me lazy. I hate it. But it stood by me this time, partially oaring me to an unknown island of sleep; flashes of faces, words spoken in English, a fairy tale divulged each time; and partially fixing me where I am, with the hard cover volume in my hand. I love the later part.
When my feet feel swollen, I stand up and contort my body once or twice, and then sit down, pushing forth my eyes on the white paper, only to find how familiar words dance to some mysterious tune to concoct the most fascinating potion of literary alchemy.
This time I stand up again; take a stroll around my chair in a ritual to warm up my legs. I finished the book, which I have been reading from the previous week. A thread sized stream of contentment oozes down into my mind. A smile spreads on my lips that takes a rightward move and settles on the right side for some time.
Another irritable pleasure I seek is to return this book at the library. I imagine my walk to library; contented, poised, with the same right corner smile. I may meet my students there, too. One inexplicable advantage of teaching profession; you get a tremendous amount of spare time. It is two in the afternoon, and I still have two and half hours left, which I can spend in the library. Thursdays are usually off days for me, due to some technical requirements, in order to balance the total hours of lecturing among other teachers: a whole day between me and my muse.
My colleagues raise their weary glances up at me, while I pass their cabins as a traveler just back from his inter-continental mission, content.
The library is not as crowded as I expected. I see the librarian lady passing a curious glace at the stack of papers in my hand: a short story I downloaded from the internet. She hands over my library ticket, which I have to exchange with each book I take. But today I have no intention to take another book. The Box was a hard read. Words dancing, changing into voices and creating a mysterious alchemy.
The short story with me serves for another plan. It forms part of my creative writing practices. The story is by a writer who is new to my reading universe, so I am keen in observing him in action.
I am standing among the bookshelves now. I feel my legs need a real nice stretch. A stroll is needed, at least. So I take a round among the shelves, just dab my fingers over the covers of books, leaf through some and just move from shelf to shelf. The reason why I don’t want to take a book today is that I already have one at home; the biography of C. G. Jung, which seems to be a good one, though I haven’t started reading it yet. Some books create an impression upon us even before a page is turned.
Henry Miller: Plexus: the cover read. It was just a brown cover with the title in white with red bordering. I have been searching for any book by Henry Miller for a long time. Though, enough attempts were made I could not succeed. Somehow his books are not in many numbers in libraries; not even present in most of them, neither at book stores around in Kannur. May be the reason is their covers with pictures of naked women on most of them. That is why the cover of this edition catches my attention. It is a 1963 edition by
publishing company. Granada
I take it in my hands, look at it and put it back from where it is taken. Promises have to be kept; I decided not to take a book today. I take it once again; turn the pages; they are yellow with time and the print is crammed. I put it back. Promises are promises, even if they are made to oneself. I am walking out of the library after 4.30, with a paper stack and a brown covered book. Plexus.
Sometimes it’s ok to take a chance if it’s worth it…I guess.
[Image courtesy: Image 1, and 2: Google images]