A Delicious Torture

POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

A Delicious Torture

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I crave the pain.  Nothing can compare to this torture—the sweetness, the aching and the longing.  And I must have more, more, more.

I’m talking about the torture of the bookstore.  Inside the glass doors, among the page laden shelves, the torturer calls me.  It waits to dazzle my senses, blind me with colorful beauty and hypnotize me with the perfume of printed paper.  My fingers itch to touch and caress every single tome.  Even my hearing is involved.  The quietness of the store itself makes it possible to hear the books whisper their stories.

I look across the shelf at the bright colors and catchy titles whose sole purpose is to violently capture the attention of shoppers wandering through the aisles.  There have been times that I’ve seen, from the corner of my eye, a book move on the shelf and turn to watch me pass as if praying that I will pick it up. They beg to tell me their stories.  As I witness such extreme measures, how can I resist? Before I know what has happened, I have the book in my hands.

Then my fingers and ears twitch anxiously as my eyes search the cover.  How does it present itself?  What does the artwork say to me?  I measure the heft of the book and the warmth of the cover.  Does it appreciate my touch?  Turning the book over I examine the back and read whatever words are speaking to me.  Finally I open the pages to see the print and smell the feelings in the book—even adventure has a smell.

The torture of this exciting process is making a choice.  How I wish that I could take the entire store home with me.  There are about twenty books that I am seriously considering.  Which of these children, which of these little darlings is the most worthy? Aahh – the torture of deciding on one book from the entire store.

Wait a minute—here’s a shelf I haven’t seen.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle

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