What happened to this book?
It’s just vanished, like it was never there to begin with.
But I know it was there before, once long ago.
What happened to this book?
It’s just vanished, like it was never there to begin with.
But I know it was there before, once long ago.
I can no longer feel it in my heart and soul. Where once I had energy and passion there is only a dry husk. I feel there is nothing left inside of me to write about. Every place I look for motivation I find none.
Sitting at the bus stop or lingering in a closing cafe, I listen and watch the people just like I have done for years. My mind draws no pictures around them. They are normal people with normal lives. Not fantasy heroes or Victorian heroines ready for adventures.
Searching in the library, I find books on writing, but I’ve read them all before. I look for more, anything that draws my attention, anything that might get the gears working in my head again. I leave with my arms full of books and spend all day and night reading, but it doesn’t solve my problem.
I go to the doctor and tell him the voices have stopped talking in my head. He smiles and says but isn’t that what everyone wants? What’s the problem? I shout back, but I’m a writer and my life depends on those voices! He shrugs, tells me to eat healthier, have a holiday, and take up a new hobby.
At home I lay in bed, watching spider shadows across the ceiling. I think about what if I’d not been born me. What if I’d been born someone else? Like my doctor or the old lady who always gets the same bus as me. What if I was leading a totally different life right now?
Would I miss writing? Would I even know I had a gift?
I once had a gift.
Now there’s only empty space inside of my head with cotton candy clouds floating by. I wonder if Heaven is like this?
In the morning, I get up and pack a suitcase and rucksack. Of my writing suppliers, I take only an old comforting notebook and a favorite pen. I go to the train station, choose the next train to the furthest away place and buy a one way ticket.
Hopefully inspiration will be waiting at the end of the line.
The only thing Sundays are good for is laying in bed, reading books and drinking tea.
It was time. Elisabeth knew she had to do it, but she just didn’t know if she’d find the strength. Standing just inside the nursery room, she looked around and took in all the bright and pretty toys. There were so many things!
In pride of place was the dappled rocking horse with all his red leather tack. The doll’s house took up the left far corner, under the curtained window. The red bricked front tightly shut away, but inside was wonderful collection of fully fitted rooms for the china dolls to roam through.
There were soft toys and wooden toys gathered about. Books on a small bookshelf and other child size furniture; a desk, a chair, a sofa. A tea set all laid out on a circle table and dolls seated at the chairs as if they were really about to take tea. Everything was ready to be played with and you could almost hear the voices and laughter of children on the air.
Elisabeth sigh and thought about what should have been. She dropped her head and turned from the room. Her dark blue dress rustling about her. Her eyes caught those of the elderly housekeeper, who was waiting with dust sheets and the ring of house keys.
‘My Lady,’ the housekeeper spoke, ‘it will be open again before you know it.’
Elisabeth held her head high, trying not to show any of her grief. She swept passed the woman and went along the corridor and up the next flight of stairs to her room. Once there and with the door locked behind her, Elisabeth sank onto the bed and crumpled a child’s nightdress into her lap.
Tears began falling, thick and fast. Elisabeth buried her face into the nightdress and cried until exhausted, she lay down in bed and fell asleep.
(Inspired by: https://scvincent.com/2017/04/27/thursday-photo-prompt-child-writephoto/ with thanks)
The library is closing down so I’ve gone to see what books they are giving away. If I could I’d bring everything home but since the house already looks like a library I’ll try hard to just pick the best books. I promise!
Vellichor; the strange wistfulness of used bookstores.
What is it about used book shops? You go, you browse, you pick up a few books, you read a few pages, sometimes you buy book/s and other times you don’t. You might stay for coffee if they have a cafe. It’s a meeting place, a talking point, a land of discovery.
You like the smells that whiffed from the shelves; old ink, yellowing pages, dusty attic, dampness and salty tang. You like running your fingers over cracked spines and flattened leather. You like pulling random books out and seeing what they are. You wonder who the previous owner/s and why they give this book up.
You enjoy a good mystery and there is always just more then the story inside to be had. You adore supernatural and horror too; ghosts give you chills and vampires have you shaking at your knees. You love adventures to far off lands or under deep seas or high in the sky. Science fiction always makes you ponder if this is what the future will really look like even though it’s your less favourite.
If you could you’d live in the used book shops. In fact, your home is slowly turning into one. Your bedroom is floor to ceiling with books! You’ve read most of them, but there are others still waiting to be read and still you go to the used book shop to see more. It’s an addiction, a terrible terrible addiction and yet, its harmless.
Tsundoku; buying books and not reading them then allowing unread books to pile up together.
I entered my granddad’s house and my heart filled with panic. I was surrounded by piles and piles of books. They reached from floor to ceiling and were stacked everywhere. Narrow passageways lead to each room and you had to sideways step through. I held my breath as I squeezed down the hallway into the living room.
Four walls of books met my eyes. They must have been stacked three or four deep! In the centre was an old, comfy armchair and a reading lamp, but that was all the furniture there. I looked around, titles and book spines flashing before me.
Maybe further inside the house wouldn’t be as bad?
I was wrong! There were books filling the kitchen, the bedroom and the bathroom. It was as if a large library had been packed into a two down to up terrace house, only someone hadn’t realised there wasn’t enough space.
What was I going to do with it all?
I sank on to the armchair and looked around. My head began to come up with ideas; from the simple – getting a skip- to the more extreme – opening my own bookshop or library.
I knew my granddad had been a hoarder of books, but I could never have imagined this.
I don’t know what was going through Kim’s mind that day. Only that she wanted to be left alone. My old gran would’ve said that girl was away with the clouds and why couldn’t I find someone normal to have as a girlfriend?
I didn’t want normal though. I wanted the unexpected and unusual. I wanted more excitement then a cheerleader – who were way out of my zone anyway and more beautiful then the geeks and nerd girls. Saying that though, Kim was a bit of a geek. Though she always denied it.
We were meant to have a date that evening. But as we left school, Kim told me it was off then left without another word. I pondered as I walked home if that meant we had broken up, but Kim would have said that. She was a girl of few words and when she spoke it was only to say what she meant.
The late afternoon was pleasant enough, for the end of March. There’d been a lot of rain recently, but it was a mostly dry and sunny day. I didn’t much feel like going home. But I was feeling stuffy in my uniform. So, I headed there to get changed.
There was plenty of things I could do, like homework or playing on my Xbox, maybe seeing if anyone else was up for hanging out. I wasn’t in the mood though. Kim had put me off and my thoughts were fixed on her.
What was her reason? She’d never cancelled on me before and we’d been dating for five months or so now. Yes, I wanted to sleep with her, but I was willing to wait. If she’d been ill or busy with something else, why didn’t she just say? It had been simply, ‘I can’t meet tonight. Sorry.’
I could text or call her, but Kim wasn’t one for phones. Instead, I decided to go and see if I could just find her by wondering about. A crazy, long shot of an idea, but it had worked before.
Grabbing a jacket, I left and walked around our small town. I checked Kim’s house, but there was no one home. I checked the school, but it was now locked for the night. I searched shops, the library, the little parks. Finally, I walked out to the woods.
There were a handful of dog walkers, a jogger and some school kids from the other high school dotted around. I was about to give up, maybe she’d gone out of town? Some emergency she couldn’t tell me about? Other ideas popped into my head and my feet came to a stop.
I was facing the river. The water was flowing gently, causing the grass and tree branches which dipped in to move also. It was a pretty spot. I looked further to my right watching the river moving past me. Something caught my eyes. There was a large branch stretching over the river and laying on it was Kim!
She still had her uniform on, but she had let down her long black hair. There was a book covering her face and her school bag was hanging up close by. She seemed to be asleep.
I walked over and lent around the tree. It was easy enough to climb up and walk over, but I didn’t want to. Instead, I said Kim’s name gently and tried to wake her. It took a few attempts.
‘Go away, Dustin,’ Kim said.
‘Why? What are you doing?’ I asked.
‘Communicating with this book,’ she replied.
I frowned, ‘why?’
‘Because it’s hard and I’m trying to understand it. Now go away!’
‘Is that why you cancelled our date?’ I asked.
‘No,’ Kim answered.
I waited, but she didn’t say any more. I rubbed my fingers over the bark of the tree and felt how rough and dry it was. Kim just lay there, book still over her face.
‘Then, why?’ I pressed.
‘Because I wasn’t in the mood,’
I put cheek to the tree trunk and stared at her. Kim had really nice legs. She wasn’t wearing tights or leggings today, a sure sign the weather was getting warmer. Her skirt was knee length though and give her the cover she needed. Her blouse was still tucked in and I could see it swelling around her chest when she breathed in. Even though I hadn’t seen them yet, Kim had small boobs.
I couldn’t decided what to do. From her demeanour it was clear I should go, but I didn’t want to. There was enough room on the branch for me if I wanted to sit close to her feet. Or, I could sit at the foot of the tree. What was the point in waiting for her when she’d made it clear she didn’t want me though?
‘I guess, I should go,’ I said, a little too loudly.
Kim finally took the book off her face and looked at me.
I lent off the tree and got ready to make a move.
‘You don’t have,’ Kim said, ‘I’m bored anyway.’
She sat up and shuffled along the branch. She put the book in her bag, tugged it down and put the strap over her head. The she clung on to the tree trunk and slowly climbed down. I helped her over the last bit then give her a hug.
‘What’s the book about?’ I asked.
‘Seventeen century witches’ plays,’ she added.
Kim held my hand and we began walking.
‘Yeah, because people in the sixteen hundreds loved witches.’
I nodded, noticing the sarcasm in her voice. Kim swung our hands and we headed down a quiet little path.
‘Maybe, you can help me figure it out later?’ she said.
‘Sure. Does this mean we get to have our date after all?’ I asked.
‘I guess…You’re going to pay for dinner, right?’
I shook my head, unbelieving that and Kim laughed at me.
I had no idea what the person next to me was doing. In fact, I had no idea what anyone in this office or even building was doing. It was a strange thought and one that had not even dawned on me before.
I looked around, taking in the long rows of desks, the tops of computers and stacks of papers. Someone was sat at every desk, typing or writing away, their heads mainly down. There was a low murmur of voices, tapping keys, scrabbling of phones and churning of machinery. Around the walls of the room rose the bookcases. They were packed with multi-colored book covers and contained all the knowledge of the world, from start to finish.
How long had I been working here now? Five, six, seven years? And not once had I thought to find out what this company was and what the other workers did. There had never seem to be any need though. I had always known my job and just got on with it. The awareness of everyone else had been there, but I guess I had never really noticed.
I peered over at the person to my right. It was a woman and she was busy tapping on a laptop. There were books, paper and pens scattered on her desk. She ignored me, either not realising I was watching or not caring. She was working on a research piece about monkeys, something which I could link to my own work.
I turned to the left and looked at the man there. His desk seemed the same as the woman’s, only he had no laptop and busy handwriting notes. There were many large books open before him. He was writing about monkeys in films. Once again, he didn’t seem to care I was watching him.
I got up and slowly made my way around the room. Everyone was researching and writing about something different and yet it all connected together. Finally, I concluded that we were working on a complete history of Earth’s animals. Each person had been given a different animal and subject matter which at first seemed a little out of place, but was actually a piece of the jigsaw we were creating.
I went back to my desk. My thoughts really awake for the first time.
Work has been so stressful these last few weeks. I’m so in need of a holiday but no luck! My hours have changed, so they are longer now and due to there still be staff shortages, no one can really have time off. Of course, if I did ask for a few days or a week off I would get it, though my supervisor might not like it!
I’m meant to be training like four volunteers to do my job which would be really useful, but none of them turned up this week. Hopefully, they might next week. I don’t mind training as it means less work for me but it just takes time away from other things.
Everyone thinks being on reception is a cushy job but it’s not! You get rushed off your feet answering the phone and greeting visitors. I don’t mind answering and sending emails though because at least you have longer to deal with them. I’ve always been a happy friendly person, but work expects you to be like that all the time!
My face feels numb from smiling and I’m so weary of being cheerful even when I totally don’t feel like it.
I shouldn’t complain. I like my job and the money is great, but sometimes it just gets too much. I think everyone feels like that sometimes. We get grind down like wood in a sanding machine. Everyday we lose more of ourselves and we can never get it back.
I’ve been reading too many morbid books!
I need to get some more sleep too. That would really help. Maybe trying to get sometime off work wouldn’t be that bad an idea.
...moments of unexpected clarity
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