So I won’t. Except maybe about the food. No, not about that, either, although almost none of it was traditional fare and I mostly had to eat around that meat stuff…
The good part was the conversation and how some of us sat around and preached to our choir selves about reading. Not about what we’re reading, but about our fear that nobody reads any more. One of the persons present (he was not in the conversation, though) owns an independent bookstore. One has to be incredibly brave, committed and hardworking to do that nowadays. The university where I work has a library that is always begging for support because the people with money and power think it’s all on the internet anyway – why pay for it? We need bricks and mortar and sports facilities…
But back to books, which is the real food for thought for the moment. I spend a lot of time reading from a computer screen, as do many people. Yet it cannot replace the book in hand, book beside the bed, book in bed with you. Usually I am happy to be able to sign off so I can turn to the words on paper.
I cannot imagine a world without books, nor do I want to. Since I was little and my parents bought me Little Golden Books (there’s a story in that, for another time), I have loved words and even better if they had pictures beside them. Text/image is still my passion. I take pictures so I can write about the experience later. Or I write a poem or read one and then paint it. I like cubist poetry in English and a couple of other languages. The concept of the palimpsest is fascinating to me. Words upon words upon words.
My point? It doesn’t seem like words reach us when they have no material form or when they’re only on the screen that disappears. Paper make them somehow more perfect. (Yes, I like to make paper when I have time. Paper from old paper, given new life.)
In my next life, which could start tomorrow or next week, but most likely in a few months, I would love to make books. Not like the bookies for the bettors. Make books: edit them, write them, construct them from recycled or other materials, invent new shapes for them, sell them, etc. etc.
To do that I need more moments like today’s gathering. There was a new person present, and the other faces were familiar, but only one other was “family”. So we sat around creating connections by talking about books, travels, meaningful moments. In the end we had decided the group was a good one and we should plan to have moveable feasts more often.
It didn’t even matter that one of my three contributions to dinner accidentally got relegated to the back part of the kitchen counter in it crockpot – and it was my best version yet of garbanzos con espinacas y azafrán. When I discovered it, I just asked for containers to be able to send it along to the two other homes people were heading to and was content that tomorrow it would be even more savory.
We were all full of good plans, anyway. To eat, discuss the virtues of French vs. Spanish or California wine, and maybe figure out how to get more people in the world reading again…
Did anybody mention turkey? Not me. There might have been some there, but I’m not sure.