She Sits And Reads

photographs-by-stanley-kubrick-look-magazine-life-in-new-york-40s-9

 

She sits and reads with the inevitable resolve of a child who has no notion of boundaries and pays no attention to the physical form of what she absorbs. Not just books alone but anything and everything she can get her hands on: every minuscule speck of life itself around her is fair game; it all speaks directly at her and she needs to reply. At first sketching a mental image of the authors, imagining their voices, their demeanour and their lives. Placing herself there as a real semi-fictional character in a fictional semi-real life seems to be the only way to do so, but they’re not listening.

Suddenly without filter and with the same resolve words of reciprocation rush out of her. She starts to write directly from her open heart (or mind, but she can’t tell the difference nor does she care to) straight to the paper in a rush to carve it somewhere before it fades, not stopping for a second to review or reread: the real visible words on the paper are sufficient gratification. There is more to read.

She sits and reads a little slower now. The lives and the sound of the voices of the authors are inexorably fading into the distance as the text itself stubbornly pushes to the surface demanding to be heard, constantly reminding her that once it’s been written it belongs to the author no more, that the words are now the reader’s. She spots structures, plot, progression, rhythm and melody in the words. She spots herself.

Hesitant, suspecting that she’s trespassing upon forbidden territory, she begins to write with the same purpose of letting the words go as either a donation to others or else a balm to herself. She even writes a book as if she was building a house, recruiting help and opinion on every single brick, wall, window sill and floorboard and every poppy in the garden that surrounds the house is named and accounted for. She watches this house grow and change as people move in and out and the garden blooms and withers with the tragedies of other lives, now insignificant for not being hers anymore.

She sits and reads very slowly and meticulously. Unlike before, her eyes go back and forth in the text thoroughly absorbing every single word and every word becoming a part of herself. She discovers the infinitely recursive depths of perception, one infinitesimal laceration after the other and feels humbled and inadequate and in need of an answer from herself alone.

And so she writes slowly and deliberately. She suspects it but hasn’t yet fully grasped that while it seems she’s still writing from her heart (or mind, but she can’t tell the difference nor does she care to) even when building larger structures, the very slowness of the act has become a strict and sometimes cantankerous editor who makes the words linger in her mind arguing with each other, some cuddling in shining sentences others placing entire paragraphs of safe distance between them.

She sits almost immobile now, maybe not reading at all.

Every word has become a whole book, every paragraph a whole encyclopedia and every book a whole life, revisited, molded and reimagined over and over again. Her writing has now become both excruciatingly slow and surprisingly fluid. It has become a mental life of its own where the writing down of words is but a distillation of a whole universe into the very essence of her where no alternatives exist, just the exact words. As if there is no choice but to wait for them, until infinity if need be, as if slowing down to near immobility and abandoning time has finally given her the space to read everything and write everything or maybe just the one thing.

But it’s not clear if she’s reading or writing at all anymore.

On her face there is just the vaguest hint of the peaceful smile of someone who’s finally discovered that there was never anything else she could do.

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