Sitar music is on. Mingled with guitar, I think. Dunno how come, but I’m grateful for it. The guitar bits sound like the beginning of Spanish Caravan. Spanish guitar, I think. Just finished reading Fahrenheit 451. Didn’t feel like doing anything after that. Just lay still, curled up on my couch (it’s brown leather and I’ve draped my black winter coat over it, so that it forms a sort of pillow for me, which is where I can rest my head, curled into a 4). I’m in Starbucks again, of course. The Asian girl close by has a virulent pink playboy bunny cellphone. It strikes me as odd and a little jarring. I’ve licked the whipped cream off my pumpkin spice latte (no spilling this time, no sticky sweet warm mess), crunched up the usual butter tart. There was a boy next to me for a while there, some banter. He had a small-ish beard that leaned towards ginger. Seeing him, I understand what it means to be young looking. Behind that beard, is the face of a small gentle boy. Perhaps the kind who liked to watch pigeons. Or shoot them- what do I know after all. I sometimes wonder if books swallow me up. I was reading ‘The Night bookmobile’ last night. Ma and I were discussing the dark side of reading. She didn’t think there was one, and was surprised that I did. She looks at books as a type of escapism. I said that books could consume you if you weren’t careful. Set your standards so high that you became unable to accept an ordinary life. Mundane everyday things start to bore you. Or on the flipside, you could start to notice the beauty in the small things. Get caught up in observing and reflecting, instead of doing- leading to a sort’ve stasis. I know that at times I’ve been so overwhelmed by the sheer brilliance of a piece of writing, that I found that I couldn’t write anymore. Sometimes I’m afraid that I’m composing the perfect life in my head, setting impossibly high standards- and that’s the danger I guess of really good art. Books, and music, and film, and oh, everything! They can inflame you, inspire you, spur you to strive for the very best. But if you don’t succeed, if your life is less than exciting, if at last you examine your life and it simply does not compare- then what? Then you’d be left with this sense of futility and failure, and most intolerable of all- sheer monotony. What do you have to look forward to? Fear can be crippling, if you let it.
Here’s another thought- too much stimulus. Reading, listening, watching, always rushing, rushing, rushing- doesn't leave you the scope to think.
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way ti was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching. The lawn cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime”
“Stuff your eyes with wonder’, he said, ‘live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that’, he said, ‘shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass’”
-Granger, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury.