Ever notice how the company of your favorite book can be so satisfying that you forget that you haven't seen any of your friends in forever?
This morning, I got a text from the latest question mark in life, and I had no idea who had done it. I have a cell phone that is older than moses, and I cannot respond to the stupid things. For some odd reason, though, it made me realize that words that are written down, on paper or in pixels, mean more to me than words that are said. If and when I erase the emails sent to me by my last question mark, it will feel more like closure than erasing him from my cell listing did.
When I started writing this, though, I wanted to talk about how certain writers, certain books, come to be like family to me. Adrienne Rich, Stephen Dunn's Different Hours, Foer's Everything is Illuminated, these books are my friends almost more than any person could be. Multiple times, year in and year out, they accompany me to the park, to bed. They have my morning, afternoon, and evening coffee with me. When I'm down, they walk me to the bar. They sit vigil with me while I wait for you to call.
I think I like them so because they never change their minds, or lie about their intentions. Everytime I open Leaves of Grass, I know what Walt is going to say. It is no less shocking or enjoyable, but it is consistent. Nothing else in my life is.
When I was little, I was obsessed with Anne of Green Gables. I bought the complete series when I was in second grade. Over the summer, I read the first book. I read each chapter over and over, as the language was a little old, and there were things there I wasn't familiar with. I especially remember sitting in a chair in my grandparent's house and trying so hard to figure out what cordial was and why it was such a big deal. I loved it, though, and by fifth grade, I had read the whole series four times.
I am a book, myself, easy to read, easy to open.