Falling in love…

June 13, 2020

When I was seven years old, I started going to the library and I took out ten books a week. The librarian looked at me and asked, “What are you doing?”

I said, “What do you mean?”

And she said, “You can’t possibly read all of those before they are due back.”

I said, “Yes, I can.”

And I came back the next week for ten more books.

In doing so, I told that librarian, politely, to get out of my way and let me happen. That’s what books do. They are the building blocks, the DNA, if you will, of you.

Think of everything you have ever read, everything you have ever learned from holding a book in your hands and how that knowledge shaped you and made you who you are today.

Looking back now on all those years, to when I first discovered books at the library, I see that I was simply falling in love. Day, after day, after glorious day, I was falling in love with books.

The library in Waukegan, Illinois, the town where I grew up, was a temple to the imagination. It was built by Andrew Carnegie, the philanthropist, who built libraries all across this great land. I learned to read by studying the comic strips in the Chicago Tribune. But I fell in love with reading at that old Carnegie library. It was this library that served as the inspiration for the library in my 1962 novel, “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”

Ray Bradbury
The Book And The Butterfly
(Introduction to: The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012)

magic

June 2, 2020

There is no such things as magic, though there is such a thing as knowledge of the hidden ways of Nature.

H. Rider Haggard
She: A History of Adventure

In Hamilton’s The Universe Wreckers…it was in that novel that, for the first time, I learned Neptune had a satellite named Triton…It was from The Drums of Tapajos that I first learned there was a Mato Grosso area in the Amazon basin. It was from The Black Star Passes and other stories by John W. Campbell that I first heard of relativity.

The pleasure of reading about such things in the dramatic and fascinating form of science fiction gave me a push toward science that was irresistible. It was science fiction that made me want to be a scientist strongly enough to eventually make me one.

That is not to say that science fiction stories can be completely trusted as a source of specific knowledge…However, the misguiding’s of science fiction can be unlearned. Sometimes the unlearning process is not easy, but it is a low price to pay for the gift of fascination over science.”

Isaac Asimov
Before the Golden Age: A Science Fiction Anthology of the 1930s (Intro)

Oh, dear –

April 28, 2020

a special odour

January 23, 2020

Most of the books have the smell of an earlier time leaking out from between their pages – a special odour of the knowledge and emotions that for ages have been calmly resting between the covers.

Haruki Murakami
Kafka on the Shore

We walk in darkness with phantoms and spectres we know not of, and our little world plunges blindly through abysses toward a goal of which we have no conception. That thought itself is a blow at our beliefs and comprehension. We used to content ourselves by thinking we knew all about our world, at least; but now it is different, and we wonder if we really know anything, or if there can be safety and peace anywhere in the wide universe.

Donald Wandrei
Strange Harvest

People who’ve never read fairy tales, the professor said, have a harder time coping in life than the people who have. They don’t have access to all the lessons that can be learned from the journeys through the dark woods and the kindness of strangers treated decently, the knowledge that can be gained from the company and example of Donkeyskins and cats wearing boots and steadfast tin soldiers. I’m not talking about in-your-face lessons, but more subtle ones. The kind that seep up from your subconscious and give you moral and humane structures for your life. That teach you how to prevail, and trust. And maybe even love.

Charles de Lint
The Onion Girl

Unsaid

July 16, 2019

What’s left unsaid tells you everything you need to know.

The Cats Will Know

March 28, 2019

Rain will fall again
on your smooth pavement,
a light rain like
a breath or a step.
The breeze and the dawn
will flourish again
when you return,
as if beneath your step.
Between flowers and sills
the cats will know.

There will be other days,
there will be other voices.
You will smile alone.
The cats will know.
You will hear words
old and spent and useless
like costumes left over
from yesterday’s parties.

You too will make gestures.
You’ll answer with words —
face of springtime,
you too will make gestures.

The cats will know,
face of springtime;
and the light rain
and the hyacinth dawn
that wrench the heart of him
who hopes no more for you —
they are the sad smile
you smile by yourself.

There will be other days,
other voices and renewals.
Face of springtime,
we will suffer at daybreak.

Cesare Pavese
Trans. Geoffrey Brock.

I want a poetry of knowledge and of thought, not of opinion – and not of belief, which is merely dead thought. Poetry is the musical density of being,  but sometimes it is silent, and sometimes that silence is musically still.

Robert Bringhurst
Pieces of Map, Pieces of Music