Book Shaped Portals.

imageFor the first time in many years I’ve started reading fiction again.
I’m not referring to the inundation of misinformation by various media outlets although I can’t deny that I’ve been jumping from one news agency to another trying to construct more plausible scenarios, but rather, books that contain flights of fancy and imagination.
I’ve always been a voracious reader.
I was constantly read to as a small child and by the age of four was reading by myself and able to consciously dive into the wonderful worlds that books can lead to.
Mundane reality made no sense to me, but reading took me places where anything was possible, where I was inspired to go on wondrous adventures and explore realities, futures and possibilities.
I would hide behind a chair in my grandmother’s parlour devouring outrageous Victorian encyclopaedias, racist religious tracts, stories about sassie girls and wild boys.
I would read in school breaks and lunch hours, read by the light that came in under the bedroom door when I was supposed to be sleeping, and every birthday and Christmas I would receive a treasured book voucher.
The library was my haven and books were my portal.
My reading was precocious and wide ranging and occasionally the school would call in my parents to discuss my too advanced tastes in literature.
In my twenties I shifted my tastes to non fiction. Initially history, biography and autobiography were my primary interests and this later expanded to reference books related to my passion, the phenomenology and study of religions and beliefs systems.
When I became homeless, I lost near all my library so the first thing I did when I was put into sheltered housing was start to rebuild my collection.
I couldn’t afford book cases so I had piles of tomes flowed along the walls and piled in the corners of my bedsit which created a feeling of safety and progression for me.
I spent the following 18 years in a larger flat filled with bulging bookcases which a flood eventually decimated a large portion of, then moved into a static home where I needed to deliberately cull even more of my precious volumes.
So I primarily kept the reference books that I felt were definitive on specific subjects, inspirational art books, and favourite tracts on mysticism.
I try not to add to this collection and if I do succumb, something else has to go create the necessary space.
I will not look at the books in second hand shop unless I desire something disposable i.e the ‘gobble’ read which is generally formulaic crime that I’ll obsessively devour until finished (often at four in the morning) then hand on to another charity shop.Kindle daily deals is my other resource for this fast food literary consumption.
I do buy art books and local mythology and fairy tales when I travel, but that is the only time I allow my passion to be released unless I’m on a particular, obsessive information gathering mission.
When I read I get lost to the outside world and all other activities are curtailed.
I don’t watch television and reading is my way to unwind and switch off.
However of late, I’ve become bored with non fiction and have cracked the formulas of my trash reads and find myself skimming them without absorbing.
So I’ve started reading well written fiction again.
What a joy it is seeing the places that imagination can lead to, the gates that can be opened and the wonder and inspiration that comes from letting the mind and spirit fly free.
In difficult times, times of change, freedom of imagination isn’t an indulgence nor is it a panicked escapism but rather, an inspirational necessity.

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About charlottejane2002

Author of 'P is for Prostitution', 'The Bloody Sacrifice' and co-editor of 'A Contemporary Western Book of the Dead' which are all published by Mandrake of Oxford. Italian publisher Roberto Migliussi has recently released 'The Sky is a Gateway, Not a Ceiling', a book of Charlotte's collected essays printed alongside images of his own art work. Charlotte is also an artist who creates spiritually directed art works from road kill and found objects. She has had her written work printed in anthologies and various magazines and on line publications and has given presentations at many events and institutions including Edinburgh University and Brooklyn's 'Museum of Morbid Anatomy'. Her art work has been exhibited widely including at London's Chelsea Gallery and The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, and is soon to be shown in New York.
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2 Responses to Book Shaped Portals.

  1. Reading by the light that comes in under the door. That line instantly transported me to my childhood–so many nights sneaking books when I was supposed to be in bed. Children can be very resourceful. It’s tempting to try it again just to see what it feels like as an adult to read by whatever light you can find.

    • I think children tend to operate by the law of possibilities and adults by the law of negative potentialities! I’ll also retry my childhood reading technique- not sure if my eyes will cope, but whatever happens it will definitely be transportative!

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