Wednesday, 21 September 2016

A Book-Lovers Affliction: Pleasurable Pain.

It dawned on me earlier today that if people could actually see my thoughts, they would be concerned for my well-being.  Not because I have murderous musings or melancholic tendencies, but because I simply cannot turn off the book-related thoughts that have taken up permanent residency inside my mind. Ever.
It all starts as soon as I open my eyes, when I see the pile of books beside my bed and long for bedtime, so I can pick up the one at the top.  I then check my tweets to see what super-important book stuff I may have missed between the hours of 1am and 6.45am. (Not much, it transpires). I grunt a morning greeting to my family as I read the Culture section of the Sunday Times, paying particular attention to the Books section.  I then wash, dress and pack up for college, all the while thinking about a manuscript I am reading for a cover-quote.  Can I finish it today?  Will I do the author justice is so few words? On, and on, and on....

I place some fiction and non-fiction into my Books are My Bag tote and start thinking about my dissertation topic for this semester (Funerals in Contemporary Irish Fiction, in case you're wondering) and head off for the 30 minute commute.  What do I do on the way?  Think about what book I am going to review for this blog next.  I'm listening to Newstalk on the car radio and they are discussing a referee stopping a GAA team from speaking Irish, as he could not speak the language himself.  This makes me think of Brian Friel's Translations and off my mind goes again.  By the time I have parked, I have moved onto The Plough and the Stars, touched on The Importance of being Earnest (random inclusion) and then ended on Jo Spain's latest thriller, Beneath the Surface, which is based in Leinster House.  Parking paid for, off I go with The Gathering by Anne Enright tucked under my fabulous new notebook, all set for a new day of learning.

 Not long into the lecture I realise that my mind has again wandered as we are going to be working on an essay based on slave trade in the Atlantic.  I think of all the insightful memoirs and non-fiction titles I shall HAVE to buy (I know I don't actually have to buy them, but you and I both know that has never stopped me before) and then I progress to more modern novels that were inspired by the horrendous and inhuman treatment of slaves.  I mentally pick these off my bulging (and alphabetical) bookshelves and plan when I can re-read them.  I have forgotten my phone (a mini-meltdown was averted by the existence of my Kindle Fire in my book bag. Obviously) and wonder what super-important emails I am missing.  All book related, of course.  I avoid another panic-attack by getting nice college IT guy to install relevant software on my Kindle.  Sorted.  On to more lectures and the cogs begin turning again as I think of a submission I recently read that I was very impressed with.  I wonder what the finished product will be like (as I'm sure it will be published) and then recall all the fantastic debuts that have hit the shelves in the past year.

This train of thought continues throughout every waking hour of the day.  I can manage to dial it down for very short periods of time, usually whilst immersed in a good novel or short story, but that's about it.  It is worth noting that all of the above happened before 11am.  It continued until this very moment, and will continue until I sleep.  I do interact with humans (to the extreme, some would say) but there is always a book related thought floating around my brain.
 I seriously wonder if that will ever change.  I had a brief respite in my late 20s and early 30s, but that was due to parental exhaustion and the lack of alone time (many, many children will do that to you) but, as Taoiseach Enda Kenny would say, I have got my mojo back.  It's just a bit of an affliction.  Not so much painful, as inconvenient.  It is a pleasurable pain, for sure, but one that is hard to describe to a non-bookish person.  Thank God for social media.  It is basically drip-feeding my addiction and helping me find the most amazing friends who can  also walk around with random books dominating their thoughts.  We can all feel each others pain.  And pleasure.  Without resorting to Fifty Shades of Erotic Fiction.

(See? More book thoughts).

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure EL James really understood the notion of pleasurable pain - but it certainly seems you do Margaret ;)


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