Last night, INTERN went to her favorite bookstore just to hang out in the company of new books, as you might visit a bird sanctuary to hang out with an ever-changing roster of egrets just because you find it pleasant.
She had very sternly instructed herself not to buy anything. But in spite of her (apparently typical, in bookstore customers) preemptively raised defenses, one book mercilessly sank its fangs into her emotions and a Book-Buying Event transpired.
INTERN spent the rest of the evening trying to analyze the event and pick it apart. What happened in that bookstore? It's like trying to recall an alien abduction.
INTERN remembers walking to the poetry section and plucking a book off the shelf because it looked thick and new and had the kind of matte cover that doesn't get finger-printy (very important for a book's seductiveness, at least when it comes to seducing INTERN).
INTERN remembers flipping through the book and reading a few lines from poems here and there, and how reading a few lines compelled her to read entire poems—she didn't have to search through the book to find a good poem, or encounter any poems she found to be turn-offs. The book was an anthology, so there was the feeling of getting much poetic bang for the buck of turning more pages.
INTERN remembers checking the publication information for the book and seeing that it was published in 2009. This felt important for some reason.
INTERN remembers sitting down in a chair with the book to spend some more time with it.
After that, there is only a flood of emotions:
-interest/love/identification with/for the content of the poems
-nostalgia/sorrow/regret for the days when INTERN read a lot of poetry, and a feeling that she should start again
-the sensation of re-sparking of a "lost connection" to a poetic side of herself
-feeling of lapsed belonging to some kind of imagined poetic community that could be reinstated by buying and reading the book
-feeling of grief/urgency/quasi-religious atonement, all tied into buying the book
After five minutes of handling the book, INTERN might as well have left an internal organ on the shelf and walked away from it as walked away from that book. Putting the book back on the shelf would have constituted a betrayal or a serious psychic wound. Buying the book was completely, overwhelmingly necessary.
Looking back over the experience, INTERN suspects the following elements are portable and could apply to other books and book-buyers besides herself:
-sense experience (book looks and feels good)
-feeling of "belonging" to a certain book or to the community implied by that book
-certainty that the book will deliver certain benefits (emotional, intellectual...)
-feeling that the (expensive! unnecessary!) purchase of said book is justified
-sensation of being brought to one's knees by the desire to own said book...sensation of acute distress if book is not immediately purchased...
Now if only one could bottle those elements and sell them...oh wait, that would be evil...
(The book, by the way, was American Hybrid, an anthology of new/experimental poetry.)
How is everyone's Wriming and Revismoing going? Word count increasing or decreasing respectively?