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On Books (or: An Epitaph for the Immortally Dead Men)

One day, I will write a book.

I will write an entire book, from start to finish. I will bind it in a deep, forest green. It will look terribly simple on the front, the title written in a pale, yellow Times New Roman. The back will feature absolutely nothing. Inside of the book will be words, mostly, because that’s the fodder for imagination.

I’ve been reading quite a lot lately, which is something I typically can’t still still long enough to do. Like everything, I have no patience, but at least enough to almost finish something. That’s how it has been with books lately, except I really love finishing them.

One book I’ve read recently is called Slaughterhouse-Five. It is written by Kurt Vonnegut, whose name I have been mispronouncing my entire life. Here is one of my favorite lines, which I have highlighted with a cheap, yellow marker, in the copy that I’ve bought:

“I don’t think Trout has ever been out of the country,” Rosewater went on.  “My God – he writes about Earthlings all the time, and they’re all Americans. Practically nobody on Earth is an American.”

Ain’t that just something?

This book also features other fantastic literary nuggets; alphabetical orgasms, if you will, such as:

On the ninth day, the hobo died. So it goes. His last words were, “You think this is bad? This ain’t bad.”

“Valencia was snoring like a bandsaw.”

and

In went water and loaves of blackbread and sausage and cheese, and out came shit and piss and language.”

I’ve been reading these books and I’ve been feeling all sorts of things. I’ve been hallucinating vividly and I’ve been giggling to myself in the corner of the coffee shop. I’ve paused a hundred times to look up at all the passing people and wonder if they’re catching on to me, on to my secret, on to this feeling that all of my books have been giving me.

I feel like I just found infinity.

And I don’t wanna share it!

You know, there’s a voice inside your head when you read. Except it’s not your voice. It doesn’t really have a sound at all, actually, and that’s something I can’t stop thinking about. Who is that voice? What is it, in all of its androgyne and colorful monotone? Who’s reading to you all these little words right now? It ain’t me. I promise.

I read a book called The Little Prince two weeks ago, and that’s because of some wonderful human in California who told me I should. It only took me an hour to read, but I’ll think about it forever and ever. Ain’t that just something? Here are a couple of things I highlighted from that book in my cheap, yellow marker:

“It is such a mysterious place, the land of tears.”***

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.”***

and

“When someone blushes, doesn’t that mean ‘yes’?”***

***It must be emphasized that The Little Prince was originally written in French, and these are simply the closest versions of those thoughts, replicated in our silly bastard of a tongue.

I am experiencing a spiritual awakening, and it is simply because of all these books I’ve read.

It’s funny to think about hearing the thoughts of dead men. Nowadays, we get about 80 years, give or take, and Orwell got 46. And 64 years dead, he talked to me, in that little monotonous voice inside my skull, and he made my blood pump through my heart, and he carved a few new valleys in the gelatin that is my brain. Orwell isn’t dead. Orwell is conquering at the imperishable age of 112.

You know, I think everyone has forgotten how to be sexy. I think we all forgot, because our whole life is an image. It’s a filtered photograph on the screen of some horny teenager, masturbating in spouts of 6 seconds at a time to a scanty-clad pale, naked body on the other side of the state. The image disappears and he’s feasting for the follow-up.

There’s a 25 year-old woman somewhere who is drinking water for dinner. In the morning, an IV of morphine will push her into a sugar-filled fantasy-land while silicone inflates a pair of plump, throbbing nipples. In three weeks, she will throw out all of her used brassieres in the advent of the Semi-Annual Sale. Also, she’s still drinking water for dinner.

The internet rages on about fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, big assess and the thesis statement of All About that Bass. They will make flipbooks of the “ideal” woman from the 50’s and empower themselves with the words of Kennedy’s closet fucktoy. They will blame photoshop for Justin’s dick and stylishly worship the winged heroines of the apocalypse.

Sexy, my loves, has nothing to do with your body. You will learn this only when you read more books.

Sexy is a vocabulary. Sexy is confidence and radiance and a magnetic laugh. Sexy is knowing what makes Venus spin backwards and the taste of red wine. Sexy is a glowing bead of sweat on the brow of a 6:00am run. My god, sexy is the way you move, the way you think, the commentary of your dancing hips bathed in the lanterns of a summer patio party. Sexy is the imagination and the expression of the soul. Sexy is what you don’t show. Sexy knows when to fuck and when to make moonlight love, when to wear a black dress and when to wear nothing at all. Sexy is the elegant antithesis of that stupid, minuscule image you have in your head of the ideal ass. Sexy is why the book is always better than the movie. Always.

I’ve been reading these books and they’ve been turning me on. And you think that lacy underwear is the trick.

It’s funny, to hold faith to one book. I’ve read ten books at least that brought me some sort of enlightenment, and have pushed me farther away from worshipping the crucifix. But a lover of jesus isn’t looking for that at all. I could throw a believer in a sea of literature, in an ocean of knowledge that puts a bible to shame. They’ll drown in martyrdom, willingly, stubbornly, holding the failing raft that is the new testament.

I bring that up only because a 52 year-old man is sitting behind me with a group of three, 15 year-old girls. Collectively, they’re not even his age. They’re as desperately impressionable as a wet sponge, and all I can hear from his flabby mouth is “Christ is the answer.” Their eyes are glassed over as they nod like puppets. He smiles plastically.

Just as easily, I could lean over and whisper “Don’t eat your breakfast and you’ll lose 5 pounds a week!” And they would listen. And they would skip breakfast. And that is because they’re 15 year-old girls.

Ain’t that just something?

I read this book recently called The Alchemist. Some people say it saved their lives. Personally, it makes me want to go to the desert. In that book, Paulo Coelho writes:

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”***

***Similarly, this book was originally written in Portuguese, which they speak in Brazil.

I guess I’m just clinging on to all these words, the stories and hearts of dead poets. And it made me want to write, to dream, to breathe,

to touch infinity.

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