nothing more, nothing less
February 8, 2013
Books. Thas my word. There were always books and books were always there and the one I remember when I was youngest was an illustrated history of the world. It began with a blob, a miasma of gases that cooked then cooled as the earth became solid and life took hold. I remember the book had pictures of a professor standing at a lecturn, slides behind him, and for each stage in the process, he spoke on it.
I never read the words because words meant nothing to me. Words were a form of mind control, words would tell me what to believe. But I, of sound mind and rebellious heart, refuse to follow the rules other people set forth. So I read the pictures. Studied them, even. I remember that book was my Bible, and I would behold the illustrations with reverence. I would turn each page with silent wonder, pouring over the details to make sense of the world into which I was born.
I remember the early illustrations of life as it began, deep in the depths, and I still remember the illustration of the fish that made his way on to land. And that fish has always been with me, might even be me in some ways, because I feel as though I am forever pulling out of from whence I came.
And flapping along, somewhat ungracefully, as I make my way into a new world and discover who I am. And it is like this, that book, it is like me and I only see that now, it is about the evolution of existence and how we got to where we are today. I mean, it had dinosaurs and it had mammals and it had humans, though it did not address my current favorite subject of Caucasians being descendants of Neanderthal, but yes, that’s another story for another day.
I remember this now because it hit me like a flash, last week in conversation with Nan Richardson of Umbrage Books. She mentioned her eight-year-old son and that’s when I thought :: Our first books are picture books. We learn to read by reading images.
And so I return, once again, to the thought that has been occupying me, the thought that we are at the cusp of a post-literate society. The idea that this is Truth, that this is (wo)man as designed, that the Word is not meant to be written but to be spoken and heard. To be magic in that once it slips off the tongue it disappears into thin air. That the Word is not to be held or cradled as an eternal fact. That even I as a writer am working against Truth. That the Word does not belong to the Ages but to the Moment. Nothing more, nothing less.