On Sanctity and the Voices of the Dead

Dear Future Publisher,

Sometimes I wander the stacks.

Have you ever done that?

Sometimes I reach out my fingers and run them up and down the spines of so many silent voices.  There is a weight to all those words.  Those waiting volumes are sanctified.  They are relics, like the limbs and bones of saints, broken up and stored in matching cases in churches where the hush of devotees honours their presence, and honours their holiness.  Each book a piece of the author that wrote it, each one a relic of some person who chose those words with care.  Each one a single piece of flesh, a lone bone, a strip of muscle from the being of the author, laid out in a row on a shelf, so many holy relics with so many different names.

I honour them all. Continue reading


On Books I Have Loved: Peter and the Wolf

Dear Future Publisher,

Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf offered me an experience of reading that I had never before encountered.  The combination of music with narration – and the use of music itself as a form of storytelling – was revelatory.  I loved the sounds of the different instruments for the different animals and people in the story.  I loved the way the music twined with the words, providing an emotional resonance the text alone could not.  I remember being thrilled by the feeling of fear inspired by the wolf’s sound, soothed by the lighter tone of Peter’s, and charmed by the way it all came together. Continue reading