Dear Loyal Shelf-Dwellers,
You know the spiel. It’s always the same, and it doesn’t get any more believable as the years go by. I’m sure it’s pretty easy to lose hope up there, waiting for the sunlight to pass over you each day as the dust collects. But I’m writing to assure you that I am indeed coming back. Next time I come home, I will reach up to your perch, pluck one of you away, dust you off, and dive in. Maybe.
Or maybe I’ll come home with even more friends for the shelf. I’ll find myself wandering through another book store, falsely assured of my capacity for self-control, and I’ll spot a story I can’t seem to resist. As I walk sheepishly to the register, I’ll probably convince myself of the speed at which I’ll start reading this one, the unquenchable vigor with which I will devour the pages. It will seem like a good idea. But sometime in between the car ride home, during which I will re-read the first paragraph seven times to make sure I “get it,” and the hour I set aside to get at least the first chapter done, when I will suddenly remember all of the things I’ve been putting off, I’ll get distracted again. I’ll forget the way I felt when I held the book in my hands for the first time, the weight of it. I’ll forget the enticing question on the back that got me hooked, that gave me shivers and made me want to flip to the end. I’ll forget, just like I’ve forgotten each and every one of you.
Having a shelf of books that I’ve barely touched doesn’t make me entirely sad. I’m not sure why, because I don’t even know of the adventures and wonders and feelings you have to share with me, but I like having you around. It reminds me that, at one point, I needed your story. At least for a little while, I wanted to live in your world, to meet your characters, to spend time with you. I think I still do. You are each a reflection of where I’ve wanted to be at some point in time, of stories I’ve chosen to know. You are reflections of whom I’ve wanted to be.
I don’t know when I’ll read you. My plans to shut everything else out and focus will be blurred and shoved aside by deadlines. I don’t know if the entire month of reading and rediscovering bliss that I picture in the distant future can even exist in my reality. But I think it’s a good sign that I’m still picturing it.
Hang in there,