Friday, 3 February 2012

Loud companions

I love my Kindle.  I love it that the books can be tucked away in there, hidden, like in a mind.

On the Innermost House page on Facebook the other day, we were thinking about the loud presence of objects (books, in this case)  Here’s a link to what we said.  It opens for me because I was logged in, but I’m not totally sure if it will take you there, though I think it will as it's a public page.  In case not, let me quote what Diana Lorence told us:

. . . she says that as they slowly populated the house with their books the noise got so loud she could hardly hear herself think! If you can believe it she means the noise of all those personalities! That sounds like a fancy, but not if you really experience your books as living people. So Michael covered them. . .

I have exactly the same experience.  For me, it’s as though every object is speaking, all the time.  Every book on the shelf is speaking.  Each item has a personality, an angle, an opinion.  I fail to notice my own thoughts, and the whisper of the Spirit in my mind, when I am surrounded by such a cacophony of agendas.  As the space clears, so does my mind, and I begin to be able really to think – to look deeply.  And I believe “thinking” is one of the things I came here to do.

Part of my 365 strategy has involved moving onto a cleared shelf downstairs the books I have bought but not yet read, so may not wish to keep.  On the garret shelves I have retained the books that (thus far at least) are important to me, that I know I would like to hold onto for now.  Having the two categories on one shelf was very confusing, because the unread ones were restless and grumbling while the old favourites just sat there quietly humming their familiar tunes.  It feels so much more peaceful with the grumblers downstairs.  They are still grumbling but they live in the room where the family watches TV in the evening, and the agenda of the TV is so loud, insistent and dominant that it drives every other presence away from the campfire circle into the surrounding dark.  Sometimes I use it for that on purpose, when my thinking is tortured and I need a refuge from it.

But with a Kindle, though it does whisper quietly about the books it hides inside, I find it a more restful companion than the loudly chatting regular books.

I just bought two new books for my Kindle, that I am so eager to read – they look just brilliant!

HRH’s book Harmony, and David Whitehouse’s book (his prose is breathtakingly good) Bed.


365 Day 34 (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)

Oh.  Another small, feeble thing – but wait!  These empty matchboxes represent a principle!  Part of house-calming down to a simple, peace-inducing, clutter-free space involves (for me, anyway) seeing how many things can be reduced to the irreducible minimum.  That sometimes means being visually unintrusive (like the amazing Bose wave player) while performing just as well as much larger bulkier things.  Sometimes it means finding housewares that are two-in-one – a bowl that can double as a cup or as a plate, a sofa-bed, a stool that can also be an occasional table and is also a storage unit, for example.  In this case, it meant taking three boxes of matches all one third full and decanting two of them into the third.  Et voil√†!  Two items disposed of (went in the kindling pile).  One might object, “Ah, but it’s much handier to have three boxes of matches dotted about in different places!!”

“So true!” she answers sweetly.

“So what?” she secretly thinks.


Anonymous said...

I understand the point of a Kindle as it houses an entire library in one small place but I love books soooo much I'm not sure I could switch. To hold and feel a book, smell the pages, take it everywhere with you and not worry if you drop it in the sink whilst washing your hands is a great thing. :-)Since de-cluttering, my book collection is down to a shelf and a half of none work related books, the ones I wouldn't like to live without. I know that with a Kindle I wouldn't have had to rid myself of any of them but I'm also secure in the knowledge that if I fall asleep reading I don't need to worry about the book breaking whereas that maybe problematic with a Kindle! :-D

Pen Wilcock said...

Yes, several of my friends find the physical experience of a book is an important part of the whole thing. I think if you fell asleep reading a Kindle it would not be a bog deal - it would just turn itself off after a while. But yes I think dropping it in a sinkful of water could be a big mistake!

Lynda said...

I've never seen a Kindle in real life, only on the internet, but I imagine it would be like reading from the computer...which I don't like doing.

So... 'as for me and my house'....we'll stick to the real thing...the paper book!

I also much prefer real paper, snail mail letters as opposed to emails. Guess I'm just old fashioned!! xx

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) It's not quite the same technology - it's not backlit so is more restful on the eyes. One of the things I like about it a lot is you can alter the size of the letters to make it bigger (or, obviously, smaller) print. My eyes get very tired spending a lot of time on the computer, and I find a Kindle page is very helpful in that the letters are crisp and clear and very easy to read. Also, which is jolly good when reading in bed on a cold night, I only need one hand to hold the kindle where I often need two to hold a book. The only downside I've found so far is that I often like to flip back in a book to check or re-read something I read earlier, and I find that harder to do electronically than with a paper book or manuscript. And similarly, if I want to read one page while freguently referencing another, I find that easier to do on paper than electronically. Everything else I find easier, but most of all I love the idea of having so many books in so small a thing. I feel a bit uneasy about relying on electronic technology, if we ever needed to go off-grid we'd be stuffed, and if it broke we'd (until we replaced it) lose all our books at once. And I'm not sure how it compares ecologically - there's the power of maintaining the Amazon website, producing the Kindles and shipping them out (they take very little electricity to charge), to weigh against the industrial process of book manufacture - inks, paper, glue, machinery, transport from factories in China or Hong Kong to their world destinations (books are very heavy) to local depots, and thence by whatever means to the home of the reader . . . There's a lot to consider.

Pilgrim said...

I also experience shelves of books this way, as background noise going on all the time. Some are security, personal history; others are always making demands: you bought me, cook my recipes! or that money is wasted! It's exhausting.

Pen Wilcock said...