Wednesday, October 6, 2010

dangerous things, like books

books are dangerous things, not to be left out where children can reach them and harm themselves, or perhaps others standing in the vicinity when it goes off. they sit ticking on forgotten shelves or on bed stands, left to impress other that happen to see, into believing you actually read them. tick. tick. tick. they wait.

at eight, i had my first near death experience with a book. one afternoon, parents out working the garden, i tilled the soil of my imagination on the latest Tom Swift adventure, or Tolkien. i read so long, words began to swirl before my eyes. i screamed. i could no longer see. blind, i staggered across the room, from the couch, turning over tables, spilling lamps until i ran into the wall. it did not fall, i did.

face creased by an inverted door jam, i followed my fingers along walls. door. hall. bookshelf, ah, i pulled back afraid of what else they might do to me, but i found the back door and yelled, "I am blind! I am blind! help me." the books were laughing i am sure, but they gave me my sight back shortly. i think they were just trying to warn me.

in college, i went to see a friend, at mary washington, and we went to see a movie, they were showing on campus, to expand the mind. the cook, the thief, his wife and her lover. a mob bosses wife is having an affair with a reader. you can see the trouble already , books. when they are caught the goons kill him by making him eat pages from his books, then when she finds his body, she serves it for dinner to her husband. what a screwed up movie.

books are dangerous things, because if you find the right book, it will ruin your life. its ideas will crawl across the page and curl like a twisted knot of snakes in your mind, until like Alexander you slice it open. unwinding, it only spreads, reinforcing backbones, fidgeting fingers, as it infects your heart. revolution. revolution. REVOLUTION. it chants like an angry mob, set for crucifixion, for your soul.

jekyll to hyde, as you clean the cup from the inside. page after page the words bleed red and before you know it you are ready to die, for another. unless, of course, you read with a twist, thinking it's all about how you get ahead, or suck the life out of your homosexual neighbor. no, you realise, it is not about you, but it is.

it's only a book. but this book. this book. this book. is dangerous. if only, you read it.

be careful young reader, the Book...it is waiting.

Imperfect Prose.

98 comments:

TechnoBabe said...

Reading to be learning even if the subject is an unpopular one opens the mind if we have the maturity to gather information for information's sake and not be swayed dangerously. You write with a snark that challenges people to read the books they display to others, not just coffee table clutter.

Katherine said...

Your so funny Brian! Books can be a little bit like that can't they. They can temporarily take your soul, they can steal you away from the present to some far away magical land or some deep dark fog filled swamp. It is so easy to find yourself lost in the words of a good read. I really can't wait till I can actually sit down, open the pages of the next book I want to read & lose myself for a bit. I enjoyed reading this Brian...then again I enjoy everything you write. So when am I going to be able to purchase a book with your name on it, to add to my collection???

Mighty M said...

I have read many such books........

deb said...

books, words, the Book.
they slay time and again.

william said...

sounds like a great book mate, lol loved your description :)

Monkey Man said...

Love books. Reading them is pretty darn okay, too. *smiles and turns the page*

Hilary said...

Oh brilliant, clever you

Brian Miller said...

ha. techno..you caught me being snarky...smiles. a little different than my usual writing...playing...

katherine...working on it...smiles.

M...i have as well....

deb...and sometimes in a good way...

william...thank you...i turn the page in yours each day.

monkey...that is one of my fav songs...i know tangent....

ds said...

ha ha, books are most dangerous things...they (gasp!) open minds...
Well done!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Making fun of those who would have lead a sheltered life instead of broadening our horizons? You have to bite into a lot of chocolates before finding the one you like best......

Kat_RN said...

Have you seen the bumper sticker? "Minds, like parachutes and books, work best when they are open" I am a bookworm, yes you are right, they are very dangerous. Isn't that part of the fun?
Kat

Nancy said...

Okay...that was a whole lotta creepy fun to read. And everyone who has ever gotten sucked in by a book will completely understand it.

Brian Miller said...

touche' KK! true, so true.

kat...indeed, i live to read.

hilary...blush, blush.

ds...handle with care, they just might explode...

Mary-Laure said...

I have an art book that's called Women Who Read Are Dangerous. He he he...
Books can change the world. And ourselves.
Careful though - they are addictive.

Cindybrown said...

Oh I have read some books that were dangerous to others!! They have given me all kinds of ideas :)

Myrna R. said...

Absolutely, books are dangerous and luckily most of us love to live dangerously, or magically, or intellectually...whatever, books can disturb our reality.

Nancy said...

I think I would die without books. They feed my soul.

Daniel said...

Maybe, just to be safe, I should seal off my bookshelf at home. Just sayin' ...

Leslie said...

Glad you recovered from that awful "first book" experience ; )

Lyn said...

This wonderful piece is so full of the fire of discovery ..nothing stopped the little hero..onward and upward with the arts..whatever you've taken..you give back!!

Me said...

Seeing as the fastest way to get a book read by the most amount of people is to ban it, I think you might be on to something here... :)

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

aha! I knew it!! all those books, all those words, all this time reading ... I am X-treme after all!! Grreat stuff!

Tracy said...

That prose was darn near "perfect".

natalee said...

Do you know how right you are??? I swear I got half of my ideals about life and such from books....

Now Im thinking I better go poison my sons minds and go get them some really wholesome reading materials.....LOL

Jen said...

Those things put ideas in your head...very dangerous indeed...it's why only certain people were taught to read in the past...and why it was illegal to teach others in more recent history.

Lauri said...

I love the pace of this post, it sucks you in, just like the best of books!

Miss Nikki said...

There is this one book I read years ago. YEARS. It was by a french author, Catherine Deforges. The main character (Léa Delmas) is still with me and does not leave me alone, and I am thankful. She is like a friend watching over me, making sure I make the right decisions.

Books can haunt you like that... Then the other day I stubbed my toe on a box of books. So you are right my friend, they can be dangerous! But I love danger!

remember me said...

i love finding a book that i can really get into but once i start reading i cant put it down, books are evil :)

Bethany Ann said...

first: i loved your writing. next: i almost got annoyed by all the clever language. then: you stabbed your (imaginary) pen into the heart of the matter -- the heart of me -- The Book!! -- and i'm pumping my fist YES!

Laura said...

So very dangerous! I've had my life ruined for books for good. :) Great, fun reading Brian!

Pat said...

So many books, so little time! Books have kept me up at night; books have put me to sleep. Books are my addiction.

Gugo said...

Wow amazing!!! Im way to amused! Im now also afraid of reading blogs I believe computers are much more dangerous!

emily wierenga said...

oooh excellent... such a good read, and so clever... and his name be praised, always, and brian you nailed it. may he open eyes and ears... ((thank you))

Cloudia said...

A worthy tribute to our paper friends!





Warm Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Emmanuel Ibok said...

Wow...dangerous things like books? and this story came out of it...Your work always amazes me...More ink to you writing pen.

Cheers!

David Waters said...

books....danger.....briliant;)

Magpie said...

Love that you're calling out the wannabe readers....those who simply display their books but fear their true power. No wonder governments have always been afraid of books.

KB said...

This is delightful, Brian. I love to escape into a dangerous book.

adeeyoyo said...

Very, very clever Brian. Books can and do influence those who read them. I loved your take on them...

TALON said...

Blogger wouldn't let me comment before, but it seems to be in a better mood now.

I just loved this from beginning to end...and the really dangerous books are always the ones that remain with you long after the blood has dried and your sight is restored. Brilliant, Brian!

JeffScape said...

I hate that movie the first time I saw it, but I now I love it.

I guess it festered... like a book.

Wild Rose said...

Knowledge is a blessing and when you read you get more wiser not the other way round. Great one Brian.

Dianne said...

Hello! WHEN are you publishing one of those monsters yourself?
Hmmm?
you KNOW we'll all buy it!
time to slay the dragon, Brian.
You are up to it.

gaelikaa said...

Living in India, I've noticed that books are treated like gods here. Touching a book disrespectfully is likely to get a child slapped. The idea behind it is that books teach us good things. I tried arguing once that books can transmit bad stuff too, like pornography. My argument fell on deaf ears, however!

Zuzana said...

Loved this! So true, books are powerful tools.;) As words are powerful weapons as well.;)
Your imaginations and writing skills are always a breath of fresh air;)
Have a great day - and beware of books.;)
xo

slommler said...

So true my friend...so true!!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Valerie said...

Dangerous? I'm an avid reader but never thought books were dangerous!

Patience said...

I think I've read a couple books like the ones you describe. . .they have definitely scarred me for life!

Boonie S said...

Very playful. Incisive too. Thanks for this.

All the best, Boonie

the walking man said...

"I've never read a book I didn't want to burn....except of course my checkbook."
Sarah Palin

Damn those Russians at her front door step, they tried to leave her Chekhov, Solzhenitsyn Dostoevsky.

Candie Bracci said...

lol but yes a book can be fucking dangerous indeed!

Goofball said...

I plead not guilty for having books for display only...I always nicely return them to the library :)


but I wish I could go back to the times I was so lost in a book that my parents were talking to me all the time and I never noticed.

Jerry said...

It's been a while since a book mugged me. Life is very busy now. I know I am in danger of going blind. I have to make time to go blind. Thanks Brian.

Vicki Lane said...

Easy to be seduced by a book (I admit to a brief fling with ATLAS SHRUGGED almost fifty years ago) -- easy to believe that because it's in a book, it must be true -- easy to overlook real truths concealed in fiction. Perhaps all books should carry warning labels. ;-)

drybottomgirl said...

I love books, but then again I've always liked a bit of danger. What I've had to learn is to detach myself and take only what I need. When I first read the "Da Vinci Code" I found myself doubting the very core of my religous beliefs until I heard Dan Brown on an interview repeating over and over "it's only a work of fiction". So lesson learned I now proceed with caution and this was a great write by you :)

Gaston Studio said...

LOL Brian, I love your take on the seduction of books and reading. I got sucked in at a very early age also and wouldn't have it any other way.

Lorraine said...

That's hilarious Brian, really hilarious, I love it, I love books..they are not nothing lol they can be very scary! love it...

Travel & Dive Girl said...

At one time in his life, my son would have told you "books were evil". Finally at 18, he is finally embracing them...

Syd said...

They have had a magic hold on me for a long time. I think that Mary Washington has one of the prettiest campus settings. My aunt went there. And I know several women who also went to that college. A good one.

JStar said...

This is clever

Mama Zen said...

Wow!

AmyLK said...

Don't tell my son books can do this to you! Its hard enough getting him to read. lol Great write brian.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Fabulous post! I have noticed people with coffee table books are most unlikely to have read them or anything else. Readers will have books jammed in every odd location throughout the house.

Slamdunk said...

I new it had to be the reading that influenced me.

Thanks for the clever post and for the laugh.

Unknown Mami said...

This is the kind of danger, I never mind being in.

Kulio said...

mwah haha! Scary :-) I like the playfulness. True though :-)

life or something like it said...

This brought me back to two memories. 1) my first novel read and 2)the thrill of reading The Book and being capture by the stories on its pages.
Thanks for this!

lakeviewer said...

Like friends, books can draw you in, kick you sideways, stop you in your step, and even blind you. Well done!

Lisa notes... said...

Love this! As a book lover from way back, I totally relate to the danger of books. Books are not safe, especially The Book that will take your soul away and replace it with a better one. Thanks for this post.

Bernie said...

Wonderful.....great post....:-) Hugs

Carrie Burtt said...

All that reading of books...has made you a brilliant writer Brian...loved this! :-)

Fragrant Liar said...

Books may blind you, but they open up your mind like camphor!

Claudia said...

yes - it IS dangerous..!!
fantastic write brian!

ladyfi said...

What a delicious post. A book revolution - long may it reign!

Craig and Bethany said...

Funny, we forget the embryos of ideas stacked spine to spine on our shelves.

Kati patrianoceu said...

Haha! This reminds me of my mother, who avoids watching TV for this exact reason. Books don't do it to her, though, or maybe that's why she tells me she'll only read non-fiction.

gayle said...

Since I have started reading blogs I have stopped reading books. Some how some way I have to get back to Books......my first love!

Laura said...

brian, this brings to mind the book Censoring and Iranian Love Story.

Maggie May said...

It is essential to read the right books...... otherwise they can warp/twist your mind!!!!! It is good to be surrounded by books. Maybe blogs are more dangerous though.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Joanie M said...

Books can kill me any time they want to. I've read or listened to 49 books so far this year and yet I live to tell about it.

Just Be Real said...

Reading is not a strong point for me. I get bored too easily. Blessings.

william said...

came over for my daily read, too early? will read it tomorrow mate...

Liza said...

I've got my crash helmet on,
all clear for danger!

Very vivid imagery Brian.
Thanks for sharing this.

secret agent woman said...

I always appreciated about my mother that she encouraged me to read anything I wanted to, dangerous or not.

Amy in Peru said...

umm... judging by this amazing response, 84 comments... (or maybe this is normal for you? :) I think you've struck a chord...

I hate to go along with the crowd, but I can't not. ;)

loved this. in fact I might just bookmark it...

amy in peru

Sarah said...

Love this, Brian. Also, I love my books ;)

Cheryl said...

You just put the fun back in Reading is Fundamental.

Anonymous said...

hilarious post! you wont be able to scare me away from books by telling these stories :)

trisha
mydomainpvt.wordpress.com

The Empress said...

Books can try to make you think you're unhappy...when actually, you're not.

Marla said...

This is so great! I want to write that kind of book. The kind that makes people go blind and start a revolution. :-)

Graceful said...

This is awesome fun stream-of-consciousness.

Birdie said...

it all depends on what books we read ;-) ... I cannot imagine my life without books, the more the better, dangerous or not :-)) happy w-e Brian!

Tina said...

Oh yes, mustn't let the kids at them! LOL. Trying to turn my almost 11 year old into a reader. The thirteen year old, no problem. Most days you'll find him at the library after school. Love the clever spin you put on this. From one book lover to another, well done!

She said...

"... set for crucifixion, for your soul.

jekyll to hyde, as you clean the cup from the inside. page after page the words bleed red and before you know it you are ready to die, for another. unless, of course, you read with a twist, thinking it's all about how you get ahead, or suck the life out of your homosexual neighbor. no, you realise, it is not about you, but it is."

Brian,

AMEN!!!!! is all I can say.

PattiKen said...

Best you keep that story from your boys, Brian. have you been overdosing on Stephen King lately? ;-)

Incipient Wings said...

this is so incredible and wonderful and true!
thank you

Jill said...

I missed this one...LOVE it.

The Retired One said...

It can be quite the addiction...and you are SO right about the ideas remaining in your head long after the book is gone...I often find myself mourning the characters that I fell in love with--I can never know what happens to them next in their journey!!