The library of things (with thanks to Bachelard and Barthes)

I’m moving books; placing Coram Boy against Drama, The Whitby Witches against The Three Musketeers. This is my packing and these are the boxes of texts pressed together in their fleshy book-bound bodies, and they are full of my life and a thousand other lives. This is my library; a library of things, of books, of boxes, of moments. As Bachelard writes in The Poetics of Space: “Space that has been seized upon by the imagination cannot remain indifferent space”, and so these books are not indifferent spaces. They are loaded and weighted with the space of myself and of my life lived and yet to live, aconjunction of moments and thoughts and dreams and sadnesses, trapped between the pages of The Secret Garden and Looking into the Middle Ages and Jasmine Skies.

This is my library of things, a library of loneliness and of desire. These texts exist singularly, ferociously so, but when they are like this, they are together-texts, and I return to Barthes in my thinking of them: “Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire.” It is my love, this quote, always, and the desire here manifests itself as connections; spines pressed up against other spines, covers pressed against covers; words running from one to the other, leaping the gaps to colonise the in-between spaces. Books do not exist in regimented isolation, in ordered magnificence. They are wild and chaotic and living things that seek these moments of cross-pollination, of blurred edges, of spaces where connections can thrive and react and exist.

I think that the more I write and the more I read and the more I know, the more I think of texts as not being book-bound at all, but rather existing as a world; as a subspace that exists in our world that we enter and exit and a space that sometimes, I think, we never ever leave at all.

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