I was listening to the "Omar Sharif" track from the "BAND VISITS" just now. Apparently, there is a movie where Omar Sharif, the actor, says, "You're never alone with a book." The song itself is full of loneliness, yearning, pining for some never defined something. Jasmine winds. And Omar Sharif. Spice. Jasmine. Something to come into a deserted small village and generate excitement.
All my life, I've never been alone, as I surrounded myself with books. Back when I was a novice reader, first coming into an awareness in a small, intellectually deserted village, I mean that concretely. I would take my books off the shelf and build a fortress around me. Books were strength, even if I couldn't read their contents. I felt safe, surrounded by words.
Later, more expert as a reader, I would surround my eyes with words all the livelong day. I was always holding a book. I usually read three or four at once. I'd be lost in Fangorn with Pippen and Merry, an hour later, Hi-ho, I'd be wamfoozing it with Vonnegut, then in Wessex meeting the Mayor of Casterbridge. In the summer, I'd be laying down in the backyard, "sunning" myself and reading--Taylor Caldwell, Irving Stone, Phillip Roth, Erica Jong. At night: Anne Rice, Bram Stoker, Stephen King. Dark novels are only properly read after sunset. I'd scare myself insomniac. I'd listen to the tapping at the windows, scared, but safe, as according to the lore common across all these books, vampires can only enter if invited (aren't they polite). I would never make that mistake! In between, I'd go in the cool garage and draw--costumes for Pippen, Merry, and the elves. Favorite scenes. Or I'd macrame. If the garage was too quiet, I'd go into the coolish "rec-room" and play my parents' cast albums, pace back and forth, lost in my fantasies of "Man of La Mancha," "My Fair Lady," "Camelot." And, of course, "Bat out of Hell." The perfect album expressing my rage, impotence, and impatience at being cooped up in Loserville. I longed to be like Don Quixote--ride out to right wrongs and put things right. I seemed quiet, nerdy, bespectacled, studious, literate. But inside--there was a volcano boiling up, longing to be allowed to spill out and be heard. I wasn't lonely in my head, but I was lonely in my heart. Books can only go so far. They can't help you to find your bershert. You can't be a hero between the pages. Or between notes.
And so it was only natural that once blogs became available, I got myself one. In the hopes that pitching my words into the twittersphere, I would find someone. Like the Who's, shouting, "I am here, I am here, I am here, I am here." Are you there, Horton? Unfortunately, while you may never be alone with a book, you are always alone with a pen.