Because Print is Better Than Digital
I’ve never been a bookworm. No one would have ever accused me of that. Prolific in other arenas, perhaps, but not in the realm of reading. I always preferred writing and I liked my own stories because they were immersive. I did read, of course, just not as voraciously, say, as my wife. One day when we were in the garage, I asked her — as I peered through a great many see-through, mega-sized, plastic storage containers — if we had any books from Shakespeare. I figured we might as I tallied in my head the count of Ronin books we must possess.
Each book stacked atop another like sad waffles, floppy crepes of discontent. Out of mind but in plain sight.
I was practically overcome with sadness thinking of all of these orphaned books, seemingly forever cast asunder with no home or master to call theirs. I sat with my shame as the question further impregnated the smoky haze of the air between us, for I knew, I was the reason for this exodus of words. They longed for a home where they could find rigid conformity, pressed neatly against the other — some lucky enough to rest alongside wood — a place where they could each parade their finest fronts, and let their emotions hang on their sleeves. Instead, these books were enwombed by an idea yet to be born; their sullen pages entombed by a fate to never touch the fabric of enjoyment.
My shame was in my lack of action in making this dream of hand-built bookshelves come true. I have denied the reader. I have denied the words. I have denied the thoughts the chance to live in potential immortality. I have robbed them of their choice to be chosen. And thus, in shame, I hung my head.
“We do,” she replied in her best unintentional librarian voice.
Shame was expelled by its own disgust and I immediately snapped to. I explained to her why I requested these books, continuing the obvious conversation with the librarian of the Ronin Army of Books.
It was clear that the task was more of a chore,
When even convenience itself became tired and bored.
“You could Google it,” she suggested.
Ah, yes, the almighty digital answer box, for anything and everything: Google. Yes, I can. I forget that we live in the digital age. I forget how convenient the world is to us. I forget that we have anything and everything immediately at our fingertips. The power itself cannot even be fully comprehended, much akin to attempting to capture infinity. This is the scientific age in which we live.
In my recent deep entanglement with books and words of all forms, I have become entirely intoxicated by their look, their feel, their sound, and their magic. Having these words in hand — even if hard stamped by a jaded typewriter — is much more powerful. It reveals a saga of time, a transience, where thought is eternal and immortal. The words of great minds before us speak to us today. Their words and thoughts are captured for all to see, for all to hear, for all to experience and consume. Turning the pages of a book, flipping its pages, smelling the print on aged parchment — nothing compares.
Thus, my dreams return to bookshelves. I am their savior so that they can be mine.