*** books and things ***

Images from Comic Book Tattoo

I received a belated birthday gift yesterday: “Comic Book Tattoo”: A satisfyingly thick chunk of a coffee table book filled with a sumptuous array of beautiful illustrations inspired by the lyrics of Tori Amos songs. 

Not only do I really love Tori Amos and sumptuous arrays of beautiful illustrations, I also love books.

I love everything about books.  The way they look, the way they feel, the way they smell- especially the crisp, fresh smell every new book possesses (not unlike the ‘new car smell’).  I could go on about the sensuous pleasures books deliver to me as individual, but I already feel like I am rambling too much. So onto my next point:

Not only do I love books; I love things.

I have a deep love for things.  I could (and probably am) often criticized for being “materialistic”.  Call it what you will, but I enjoy the pleasure that lies within inanimate objects. Like books, inanimate objects trigger some form of response in the senses. There is nothing better than the smell of coffee, the feeling of sticking your hand into the opening of a beanbag [if you have never done this before, do yourself a favour and do it], the taste of freshly baked bread or the crunching sound of snow under a heavy boot.

Things are the way we interact with our world.  Materialistic or not, things just are the interface between the world and us- and I find that simply said, fantastic.

That was my 5 cent’s worth, these two authors seem to share my thoughts on this matter in some way.  Although long, they are beautifully phrased and to share them gives me some innate sense of happiness:

Leo Lionni, “The Urge to make things”.

“Obviously, thing orientated people are more conscious of things than others.  Some are obsessed by them to the point of mania.  I believe myself to be one of these people.  I not only make things such as paintings and sculptures and books, but if I had infinite space, I would collect any object, man made or not, that I judge aesthetically, functionally, and metaphorically exciting.  I could fill warehouses with them.  Even books, word-things that should be judged by their content, fascinate me as objects.  I confess that I have many books in my library that I have never read nor had the intention of reading.  I want them because their sheer presence represents a yearning, a mood, a love, and yes, an act of self-preservation.  When my eyes scan my library, the typefaces of the titles, the textures of the covers, and their imagined weight give me a moment very like the pleasure of reading.  Even when I am in the process of creating one of my own books, I cannot wait for it to be finished; less perhaps for seeing the text and illustrations finally in print than for the physical pleasure of holding it in my hands.”

Tom Robbins,  “Still Life with Woodpecker”.

“Leigh Cheri could no longer snub an object… she had been cured of animate chauvinism.  Among her acquaintances at the university, among the enlightened… those who railed most liberally against racism, sexism, and ageism discriminated hourly against the inanimate objects around them, denying them love, respect and even attention.  But though she’d reached no conscious conclusions on the matter, Leigh Cheri had come to consider the smallest, deadest thing as if it had some life of its own… In a society that is essentially designed to organize, direct, and gratify mass impulses, what is there to minister the silent zones of a man as an individual? Religion? Art? Nature?  No, the church has turned religion into standardized public spectacle, and the museum has done the same for art.  The Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls have been looked at so much that they’ve become effete, sucked empty by too many stupid eyes.  What is there to minister to the silent zones of man as individual? How about a cold chicken bone on a paper plate at midnight, how about a lurid lipstick lengthening or shortening at your command, how about a Styrofoam nest abandoned by a “bird” you’ve never known, how about a pair of windshield wipers pursuing one another futilely while you drive home alone through a downpour, how about something beneath a seat touched by your shoe at the movies, how about worn pencils, cute forks, fat little radios, boxes of bow ties, and bubbles on the side of a bathtub? Yes these are the things, these kite strings and olive oil cans and Valentine hearts stuffed with nougat, that form the bond between the autistic vision and the experiential world.”