Saturday, October 2, 2010

On being a bibliophile ...

I adore books.

I own far too many for a gypsy, like myself, to tote around the continent.  But I can't abandon them.  There is something so comforting about a book ... old or new.  I love turning pages.  I love reading for hours and hours.  I'm even strange enough to admit I like smelling very old volumes.  My boyfriend will be the first to tell you that he HATES it when we accidentally discover an antique bookstore when out & about.  If I'm allowed to enter, I'll disappear for hours.  Is it sad that my dream home would look like the old book store in The Neverending Story?

Recently I've been introduced to the iPad.  Oh, the iPad.  Instantly addicting and part of the technology advances that have given us mass cultural A.D.D.  Gone are the days when I can easily lose myself in a book for hours on end ... I'm constantly distracted by the urge to check email, my favorite blogs or waste time on the internet.  Even when I'm painting I experience this need and find I can no longer lose myself in bouts of pure art making.  This bothers me.  I don't like that I've literally rewired my brain to constantly expect a wide variety of stimulation.  The internet is so non-committal.  I can flip to this article and that site ... closing a window and opening another every time my interest wanes.  I see the problem and I'm not quite sure how to fix it.  I long for the days when I could create art without any need to deviate.

Regardless of the allures of the iPad, I don't use it for what was promoted as its primary purpose.  I have zero interest in reading books off of it.  I want pages to physically turn.  I want to feel the heft and weight of a novel in my hands.  I need the satisfaction of watching my bookmark travel the depth of it.  And a part of me fears that if I abandon the physical reading of books, then someone might stop printing them.  Or perhaps they'll become treasures like dinosaur bones ... only for the wealthy and museums to own.  I'm deeply paranoid if you can't tell.

Which is why it makes me happy to see the work of Su Blackwell  (  It's as if she's determined to remind the world that books are special ... that they are true works of art.  Her pieces are gorgeous and delicate compositions that come spiraling out of the very books they are inspired by.  I want to hoard her pieces the way I hoard my antique books ... put them on display and just stare at them for hours.  What an absolutely exquisite way to remind people of the world that exists within the binding.  My iPad doesn't terrify me quite as much when I know Su is ensuring reverence for the physical book lives on.

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