The first ‘writing challenge’ I have participated in since high school. Brought to you by The Daily Post at WordPress.com. I’m going to resist the urge to say what I think of it. The zipper on my mouth is zipped closed and the key has landed in a bottomless pit.
I am a book.
I am a book, and this reader does not seem to love me. You see, it all started a few days ago. I was nestled in my nook between two of my book neighbors. One, a stuffy fellow, whispered mythology through a rugged cloth-bound cover. The other fairly bellowed with all the secrets, rejoicing in ancient wisdom and the possibility of new worlds. As long as these new worlds have cheese, I do not mind too much. In an ordinary fashion, this reader pulled me from the shelf, and my neighbor the wisdom-crier flopped inelegantly to fill space. Good for mythology and wisdom, I thought. Since the day this reader put me there, I felt rather like the yolk of an egg in meringue. Mythology and wisdom have nothing to say to me, a lowly cookbook.
I thought to be carried to the kitchen, my spine cracked open, the soft paunch of my billowing pages pushed flat against the shelf without sides. I thought soon to find myself dusted in flour or powdered sugar. Perhaps I would earn another coffee or jam stain and then be lifted after this reader’s use into the air by my covers, shaken until clean, and placed back somewhere amongst high fantasy (they’re an interesting folk, and they like to talk to me, for sometimes they, too, recognize the importance of food). But, no. Nothing happened in the ordinary fashion, and I was tossed into a box, my front-cover snapping in brief indignation. I was piled on by other books – books who had few words to share, but onslaughts of bright and garish pictures. It became dark.
I am a book, and you are a comic book, new neighbor in darkness. Your heroes and your villains are in no better shape than my recipes to understand how we displeased this reader. Why, can you tell me? Why are we shifting in this dark place that smells of dust and your glossy plastic pages? I have been so proud, always, with my bolted lists, my clarity in direction, to provide this reader with sacred information. She has loved me, used me, broken my spine and dog-eared my pages, underlined my precious text and written with her sloppy hand in the vast openness of my margins.
I was packed away at the bottom of this four-sided shelf and am losing the sense that I am a book. What am I? Maybe if I listen for this reader’s voice, I will understand what has been done to displease her. Why is it I, and not mythology or wisdom, who deserves this treatment, when she seeks my aid so often, and they have been lifted from the home shelf but once or twice each?
I hear this: “Oh, baby, mark that box. It’s the comics and my cookbook – they’re the first thing I want to unpack when we move in.”
It is no use. Her words are not text, and I am bereft of purpose, knocking spines with you, comic neighbor, in this dark, loveless new shelf.