Searching For Your Self in Books

If someone gives you a book as a gift…

do you think they’re a potential soulmate, someone who has understood you and possibly the way to your heart, or do you think they haven’t understood anything about you at all and, just to be polite and not look a gift-horse in the mouth you use the book to prop up a wonky table?

(I realise that the answer to the question, for bookworms anyway, may depend upon what book you were given)

Are you a bookworm or a what-are-books kind of person?

(there isn’t a ‘wrong answer’ to that question, neither is better-to-be than the other – they’re simply different ways of experiencing this novel life, diverse characters which make up a whole world)

Do you love to read or think it’s a chore?

(Even for bookworms certain reads are chores… it’s just not a subject you like or a book you’d ever read voluntarily)

If you love to read – why do you love reading? What purpose does it serve for you… is it entertainment, an escape, a gentle amble through the ramblings of another mind, a chance to pry and spy into the lives of others, a source of knowledge, for learning, or a way to find yourself?

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one of my my favourite books by one of my favourite authors – Andy White (who has a WordPress blog)

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At first, reading for me was a carousel ride for the imagination…

I loved going on merry-go-rounds as a child, wherever we were in the world if there was a carousel I had to go on it (and probably do it again and again if I was allowed to do so)… I’m not sure why I loved that kind of ride so much because repetitive actions, and going around and around in circles, in life is one of my least favourite activities…

my almost allergic reaction to repetition (which has mellowed as I get older and appreciate the wisdom of certain aspects of repeating) makes me rather anti-social because normal socialising has many rituals which you’re expected to perform over and over for others to find you ‘safe’ (and okay to consider as a possible ‘friend’)… I tend to be viewed as disruptive, erratic, unconventional, and therefore not ‘safe’… polite society is rather relieved that I’m anti-social even if that’s frowned upon as a label (sometimes frowning is better than a smile…).

Funnily enough my natal Moon in astrology is at 6 degrees Virgo in the Sabian symbols (a particularly curious, intriguing and allegorical aside to astrology) which is represented by – A Merry-Go-Round…

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excerpt via StraightWOO: Complete List of the Virgo Sabian Symbols

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and which, upon consideration, is an apt description of how I experience certain emotions (The Moon in astrology represents the emotional nature, and nurture, of an individual). In some ways for me to actually notice that I’m feeling something, I need to feel it repeatedly until it catches my attention (I have Mercury – the mind – in Aquarius and for that scatterbrain to notice things which aren’t usually interesting to it, and emotions usually aren’t, they have to jar – repetition really jars because Merc in Aqua wants to flow from thing to thing and not in a whirlpool kind of manner)… and for me to understand those feelings often requires observing them as they happen again later on under similar circumstances…

watching them on repeat until they begin to make sense…

Watching others when they’re stuck on repeat has also been enlightening (although I’m not sure if they’d appreciate my viewing them that way… in fact, I’m fairly sure they don’t – people don’t like to think of themselves as so predictable that you can tell them what they’re going to do, say, feel next)…

sometimes you can only figure out your own shit through first figuring out the shit of others… it gives you the detached (even if you’re attached to the other person… which can complicate and obfuscate clarity) distance needed to see a process in motion…

you’re too close to your own stuff and it’s harder to see it clearly, but see it in others and, if you remember and remind yourself that, what others do (especially the stuff you’re noticing about others) is most likely something you do too (if you’re noticing it in others it most probably is something in yourself that needs noticing and sorting out in some manner – most likely in the way you think others should sort themselves out).

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another of my favourite books even though it didn’t help me ‘win friends or influence people’ – that’s mainly because I didn’t want to do things that way, that kind of stuff doesn’t work for me (manipulating others is repetitive…) – it helped me in other ways.

One of my favourite quotes and wisdoms comes from reading a Dale Carnegie book – a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

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Sometimes those ‘others’ are characters in films, a TV series, or a book…

Have you ever screamed or shouted out loud at a character in a piece of fiction…

perhaps because you could see what they were doing, where they were headed, what was going to happen, and you wanted to stop them…

perhaps because they’d done it before and said they weren’t going to do it again, they’d made a promise to themselves, or someone else, or both, and they were about to break it…

they wanted to walk the straight and narrow, but they lost their balance… couldn’t stay within those limiting confines… they were going to find out the hard and painful way (yet again, maybe) that they couldn’t be who they were not… but still… if only… surely in fiction things can play out differently… have a happy ending…

perhaps because you’d been there, done that… lived to remember the suffering of being there and doing that… and watching someone else being there and doing that is just… too much like torture…

perhaps because fiction has a way of being more real than reality, you’ve invested more in fictional beings than in your self and other real beings… and a million other options available at any given moment… even though we always see a limited choice when the moment is upon us… pressure squeezes…

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story found online… online stories can be so… succinct.

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For what feels like a huge portion of my life I’ve been screaming and shouting out loud at fictional characters (some of those characters haven’t been in a work of fiction, but have been people I’ve known… or thought I knew, but obviously didn’t… they’d created a fiction about themselves, I bought into it, and my shouting and screaming out loud was all part of their panto act)…

Even when I have read non-fiction works… well… it’s often still ‘fiction’ to me… and I’ve probably shouted and screamed the most at works of non-fiction…

I once read in a work of non-fiction that if a book makes you throw it against a wall (or throw it into the trash)… it’s hit a nerve… which you should explore if you want to get to the root of what’s eating you up from the inside out. That was a masterpiece of manipulation on the part of the author… because I’m fairly certain that wasn’t that good a book and at some point I gave up on it….

but that little tidbit has stayed with me since… and has been an interesting added element to reading (and deciding to no longer read something I’d decided to read).

I have been what is often called ‘a voracious reader’… I was the sort of person who would rather eat books than food… but I have to admit I can barely recall any of the books I’ve read (mind you, I’m the same about meals I’ve eaten – but meals are more useful to physical survival… although in that survivalist book I read, the dry paper of a book can come in handy if a fire need to get lit fast or else you’ll die, paper also provides insulation… but newspaper would be more useful than tiny paperback pages). They may have been impressive at the time of reading, may have stayed with me, vividly, unforgettable, for awhile afterwards… and maybe I swore never to forget them (an easy swear to make when the words you’ve absorbed are fresh and throbbing inside of you)…

now… I can only vaguely recall that I’ve probably read that… if I squish my mind like a tube of old toothpaste I might be able to find a last still sticky memory of what it was about… but it’s mainly dry, crumbly… the stickiness has all but faded from the substance…

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I’ll never forget this… a book which totally sums me up in a certain way (and which made me being that certain way a good thing – perhaps that’s why it’s memorable, because me being me always seemed to be a bad thing according to the world outside of books)

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Only a few remain seared into to my mind…

they’re a higgledy-piggledy bunch or scrappy scraps…

some aren’t what would be classified by those who classify such things as ‘good’ books… this really shouldn’t matter… it doesn’t really… but… it’s weird how sometimes some random opinion or criticism can stick to you harder than something much more worthy…

Occasionally I’ve read critiques (sometimes by those who make a living out of being critics – what a weird job!) after I’ve read a book… tbh I usually only bother with other people’s opinions about books after I’ve read a book, and only when a book has made a significant impact (either negatively or positively)… which is just as well as many of the books I’ve enjoyed… I wouldn’t have even read them if I’d listened to other people first… and I’m glad I read them even if I wish I hadn’t…

I do like to know what others think…

it’s part of the experience…

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This is not a favourite book, not in the conventional way, but it is one I’ll never forget because it taught me some lessons… and those are worth remembering (I had to re-learn them over and over in other forms).

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The Celestine Prophecy is one of those books which…

I avoided reading for a long time because it was a ‘best seller’ (at the time I had a quirk of avoiding what was trendy, a hot topic, popular, etc), but then I challenged my avoidance…

it was a fun easy read…

and the 4 types/control dramas (which you can find summarised here – The Control Drama: A Lesson From โ€œThe Celestine Prophecyโ€) gave me insight into something which I needed insight into… in some ways it was the first time that a ‘narcissist’ was given a ‘type’ (my mother was a total ‘Poor Me’ who switched to ‘Intimidator’ when ‘Poor Me’ didn’t work for her to get her way) for me – this was long before ‘narcissist’ was a hot, trending topic and label to give others in the way it is now (‘narcissist’ in those days usually meant someone who was ‘you’re so vain, I bet you think this song is about you’). I hadn’t yet ventured into reading psychology…

It also was the book which taught me that authors aren’t always trustworthy… for some reason, up until this point, I had total trust in authors of books (books were a refuge for me, thus authors had immunity from closer scrutiny)… after this point, I didn’t (cynicism introduced itself and the introduction was necessary)…

Through this book, beyond the reading of it, I had my eyes opened to… things my eyes were probably trying not to see…

James Redfield was sort of trying to be a new Castaneda… but he didn’t have the flair which Carlos had, and the 90’s New Age was not the late 60’s/70’s… the psychedelic bus had stopped touring by then… stretch limos were the vehicle of choice for driving over-inflated guru egos around, and fans were not invited on board to join the communal party anymore they were kept at arms’ length and their hands were expected to have offerings of money in them not love, friendship, spliffs, spirited hive-fives…

the times they had a-changed…

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a book I’ll never forget having read (or at least I haven’t forgotten it yet)… maybe because it hit upon a deeply ingrained fantasy I had (to sail away from it all, from everyone) and showed just how effed up living a fantasy can get (and how all on your own you have to own up to the consequences of your own shit).

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we were all adrift in times which…

kept and keep altering reality

left and leave us alone, and aloner…

have lead to where we are now…

and where we are now…

seems so chaotic, so far from the order we were promised if we’d only follow the rules, this or that leader…

Simon Says but does Simon ever think things through beyond the insubstantial instant where we watches everyone copy him or fall prey to his trick…

And yet things here and now are…

not that dissimilar to places and times in the past which our forebears have experienced and written about…

but which we sometimes dismiss as folklore, legend, the stuff of ancients, heavy tomes with archaic tongue speaking of heavy stuff, something that modern civilised society with all of its knowledge, techno-savvy and shorthand could never do…

science is our religion…

history repeats itself…

is just a saying… not a doing, right?

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my all time favourite book, author, read…

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It had never occurred to me before this very instance that…

maybe I should have stopped reading when…

I found my story…

the character who encapsulated mine…

the tale which reflected my own…

but once you start…

looking…

you keep looking…

even when you’ve found what you’re looking for (even when you know you’ve found it)… you may think there is more out there for you, you don’t want to miss a thing (even if not missing a thing means you miss a lot)…

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Comics were one of my first reading loves… some bookworms might not consider reading comics to be proper ‘reading’… it depends on what you’re looking for and what you want to see (what you need to see… is another matter).

Scrooge McDuck left a lasting impression…

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These days I don’t read books as much as I used to…

you could say that I’ve quit the habit, and if it was anything else…

or at least those habits which we’ve decided are ‘bad’ and we’re ‘good’ if we quit them…

I might get a tiny applause or pat on the back for admitting that…

but…

I do read the internet, I read it in the way I endeavoured as a pre-teen to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica set which my parents had in their library… I managed to read all the paperbacks they owned, the encyclopedias were all that was left… and they were formidable containers of knowledge (some of which has been debunked since then…)… they were the Wikipedia of their day… I love a good lost in Wiki time…

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I recently read that bloggers who ramble are a thing of the past… are they really!?…

it’s funny how we only see what we see and don’t see what we don’t see…

Anyway… over to you…

What have you read which has left an impression with you, which meant something to you, which you’ll never forget?

 

 

 

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