(Source: Solid Frog)
It is that time of the year when you go “Won’t it be great to be in Paris right now?” (in your head) about a dozen times a week.
And then you go onto the internet and hunt for pictures like this – for putting on your blog, where you are whining about not being in Paris.
It is an odd thing to have someone believe in your goodness at something. It is even odder when they simply believe in your goodness at being in general.
But it is a good odd – one of many good odds.
I was having a cup of tea today by myself this morning – one of my favourite things to do these days – and reading an extensive interview with Neil Gaiman in Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman. If you don’t already know, I have a huge thing for interviews; they are just really great.
He spoke about his early reading years, who he read, who he admired, who he emulated later on in life. And it was thrilling to learn that he read a lot of the same stuff I did. He did Enid Blyton (found her to be ‘odd’ and extremely age-specific) and C.S Lewis (started out with a TV adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – as I did!) and then of course, there was Tolkien (who I read much later on, but read nonetheless).
He described his obsessive love of books, how he spent an abnormally large amount of his time reading (in and out of libraries; basically, anywhere he could) and the sheer pleasure he got out of going through all those words.
I can’t help thinking, “Oh my god, we are the same.” And maybe, we are – this thought makes me incredibly happy.
I remember this tiny rental bookstore (a kind of paying library; not so commonly found nowadays) that was located next to a boutique my mother frequented when I was a child. This was before fashion happened for me – I liked clothes, but I definitely liked books more – so I was always browsing the shelves while my mother shopped. Luckily for me, she shopped rather often.
Of courses, my pre-pubescent taste in books was not flawless. I was reading a lot of the Sweet Valley Twins series (yes, I know; but I was nine, or something). But I was also reading a lot of Roald Dahl – that little bookstore introduced me to The BFG, George’s Marvellous Medicine and James and the Giant Peach. Fascinating stories, all of them. They were the first books I’ve came across after Enid Blyton’s that deals with magic the way it should be dealt with – as if it is everywhere, if only you will look.
The lady who owned the bookstore told my mother that these were good books. I knew my mum was glad that I’ve managed to picked out the good ones, the ones I should be reading.
But I didn’t pick them out because they were right, but because they were really, really good. I still have them on my bookshelf. And they are still good, the last I checked back on them.
Some days are strangely tactile and bright. They shine and remain shiny in your memory – finding and bringing them forth from the messy interiors of your mind is easy. Like uttering that summoning spell from Harry Potter.
Days like that, you can still almost touch them years later. But just almost – such a pity.