Reading is a super-power, and a book is the stuff of magic that can transform a life into a revolution.
Opening a book, reading the words on its pages is like inhaling the air we need — and exhaling a little pixie dust ‘So come with me where dreams are born and time is never planned.’ Transcending distance and time, you can find yourself at the intersection of fear and excitement — in the midst of adventure. Just like Lucy, you enter a whole new world through the wardrobe “And may I ask, O Lucy Daughter of Eve,” said Mr Tumnus, “how you have come into Narnia?” “Narnia? What’s that?” said Lucy.
Like a phoenix, a book can rise again and again out of the ashes — by being picked up and reread many years after the first time. You meet again wherever you are, greeting each other like long lost friends ‘Everyone has one — an inventory of lost things waiting to be found. Yearning to be acknowledged for the worth they once held in your life.’
One of the biggest tragedies of adulthood, is the often forgotten wonderment of childhood.
I remember being around eight or ten, walking home along some tree lined street with my mum and siblings. It was so dark, the trees swayed and seemed to stretch up to the sky — and as far in front and either side of us. It was as if we were engulfed in an endless forest, and the trees would fall into each space our footprints left behind. All we could do, was keep walking forward — trying to get back home.
It’s likely, that in reality there were only a few trees spread out either side of that street — but it really doesn’t matter. Grown folks everywhere, might be a little bit nicer — a lot more often, if they surrendered to their imaginations sometimes — when all it wants to do is bloom. Even the briefest of story books, can grow and grow your wild heart and imagination exponentially. Suddenly, with each turn of a page, nostalgic scenes begin to play and light up your memories — like a tinsel decorated Christmas tree. ‘That very night in Max’s room a forest grew and grew — and grew until his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around.’
Reading an old favourite or a brand new book, fills up my senses. All kinds of aromas begin wafting through the air like flowers on a rainy day, onions and the hottest hot peppers being fried or the bitter stench of burnt coffee and cigarettes — cooking up a storm over a salty, emerald sea. Only the beam from a lighthouse can see you through such choppy waters, returning you back to your shore weary — but undefeated ‘she asked ‘you are in love what does love look like’ to which i replied ‘like everything I’ve ever lost come back to me.’
You may find yourself exploding in a mess of emotions at times — like a fire-hose. Trying to figure out what lies inside the intricate fibres of yourself, to increase your sense of awareness of why on Earth you feel the way you do — and why you do the things you do. You might find clues to this personal, spiritual, human existence full of complex experiences — broken down across several passages of a book — in a few simple strategies on how to deal with being human. Reading yourself on a page, can spell out with clarity — just how possible understanding you really is ‘Self awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations. Watch Yourself Like a Hawk…IQ (Cognitive Intelligence), EQ (Emotional Intelligence) and personality assessed together are the best way to get a picture of the whole person.’
Sometimes, the heat emanating from uncompromising prose — can leave an alarm ringing in your ears and a fire lit under your arse. Your soul is stirred, prompting you to sit up and take heed of the turbulent times globally back then — like in 1963, one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation in America ‘You know, and I know, that the country is celebrating one hundred years of freedom one hundred years too soon. We cannot be free until they are free.’ — and now ...
If tomorrow comes, will we dare to speculate the state of freedom for all — one hundred years from 1963? Well, if we fail to interrogate our morals, there should be no feigned surprise when ‘No more water, the fire next time!’
I wonder what the next book to hit me like a runaway train will be, derailing me from the tracks with tears in my eyes. Like my current read (an old friend revisited), perhaps it will also leave me with a fair mix of pragmatism and optimism in my heart. Rearranging my thoughts, encouraging me one word and one page at a time to push against the tide of popular opinions on how to achieve happiness — and break my silence open with a deafening scream of relief as I confront my own mortality ‘…it was the sense I had absorbed, in San Gregorio Atlapulco, of relaxing alongside mortality, of comfortably coexisting with it, of the companionship of life and death.’
Creating ourselves within the world, is a birthright we need to claim. Sometimes, just one book — will offer itself to serve as a reminder of that fact ‘This philosophy of accessing your privilege — no matter what sort of privilege it is — is only for the winners, the dreamers, and the doers. Those of us who understand opportunity comes to those who take it!’
A good book is like a great teacher,
‘The greatest teachers will send you back to yourself.’ — Nayyirah Waheed
equipping you with the right tools to navigate yourself in the world. Books have already informed much of my past, they are now intertwined in my DNA — helping to transform my becoming. Always the student, I have galaxies in my eyes still awaiting discovery. Books still matter, books will always matter to me. Each book you ever read, is like another star in the sky — trying to connect the stories of all of us at last as in The Theory of Everything.
One of these days, i’ll write a book of my own — remembering who I am, and that I too am chanced to rewrite the stars. Every now and then, I’ll also remember to look up from studying the spaces between the words on a page of a book — and gaze upwards as if looking into a mirror, taking notes of all the nuanced secrets of the Universe.
Authors note: With thanks to Jeff Barton for the long ago tag.
Disclaimer: All books quoted or referenced in this article listed here in order of appearance; The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X (with the assistance of Alex Haley), Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, Love&Misadventure by Lang Leav, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Salt by Nayyirah Waheed, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry&Jean Greaves, The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (quoted twice concurrently), The Antidote (Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking)by Oliver Burkeman, Black Privilege by Charlamagne Tha God and The Theory of Everything by Stephen Hawking