Books have meant different things to me – at different points of time in my life. At times, I’ve read to understand and interpret the world. On others, to simply impress and charm. I’ve also read – sometimes – to experience otherness and with a genuine desire to know what it means to be somebody else; to step into someone else’s skin and walk the town in it.
This year, however, books have been, more than anything else, a means of escape. I’ve read, not to change the world, or illuminate it, but to look for traces of light within me. Look for a flickering lamp in the pits of despair.
I’ve read not to be an activist. Not to change the world. I’ve read to escape and, in trying to escape, find traces of light within me.
Books have helped me look at my own life and loss – in the light of eternity and the vastness of human experience. Through the 60 odd books that I’ve read this year (most of them in the antiseptic corridors of a hospital), I’ve taken heart in knowing that what I’m feeling has been felt before. People before me have stood at similar cross roads; they’ve also looked into the abyss and have – yet – lived-on, loved and embraced life. I’ve felt a sense of camaraderie with literary characters and I’ve shared my lived experiences with them; traded stories with them, wiped their tears and allowed them to comfort me.
It’s been quite a year, but I’m happy to report, that – through books – my desire to be lost has been tempered with the longing to be found. (Billy collins)
I’m certain, that one of these times, and one of these doors that I knock, I’ll open the door to myself, myself.
And, I’m certain, I will find myself this year, or – at any rate – have a helluva time looking for myself!
A Very Happy New Year!