Saturday, October 20, 2012


Dear Magus (and if he sends it on, Alpinist),

I have for the past few weeks been unimaginably ill. I wish I could exchange my lungs for new ones. A few nights I have filled my reading room with steam, and falling asleep, experienced a liminal space of incredible richness. I had no idea, honestly, that darkness, combined with steam, combined with the tired haze of feverish mind, could simulate the instability of passage over ley lines.

One night in particular, having just finished reading a particularly fine essay in temporal philosophy, I fell asleep. Or thought I did. The next moment, I was in a reading at a library.

But a library that had no books. Well, each attendee had one book, their own. I was alone in my poverty, no book in hand. I asked to borrow a book from the gentlemen next to me, only to be re-buffed, strongly.

"That simply is not done! Who are you, sir? Where are you from?"

I quickly begged off, pointing out my ill health, but need for intellectual stimulation in spite of my fever. My neighbor seemed mollified, but gave me a few more looks. Then the reading began.

Imagine, that you could only experience a book by going to a reading, or by reading the text off a screen that displayed it only briefly before disappearing. This is what is what I experienced that night. Each reader came forward and read their work to us. Then they sat down, their book firmly in hand. If I wished to retain what they had read, it was completely dependent on my memory. I did not even have a notebook.

I understand that this reading was also simultaneously broadcast via some strange device to several libraries around the city. Readers in these libraries drew close to the screens, attempting to discern the expression of each reader and vocal inflection as they read.

It was then that I awoke (or traveled) back to my steamy library. I still am not quite sure. What I know for certain is that my entire theological sense of the presence of Christ as the living Word was shaken, to the core. Christ is not in this or that or any book, not even the individual books we keep in our little churches. He is ever and always only spoken. Let us be attentive. This was my theological awakening.

The other was more practical. I suspect that if that were the way we received our literature, then writers (and readers) would work harder to hold our attention. They would avoid getting too complicated, and they would strive mightily to create a memorable experience. Or perhaps they would not need to strive at all, because all of us would work hard to remain attentive, knowing that was the only moment in which we might hear it.


The Ecclesiast

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