Find the local dealer and walk into the section of choice and you’ll possibly be overwhelmed, unless you’re Charles and Charles has a thing for dusty stacks, the deep and penetrating pains from bumping into the corners of close-drawn furniture, and he enjoys following young men and women. He backs into the shadows and watches them read or guess over which title to pick from the shelves.
Message: there’s a lot to read out there. The output in the last few hundred years has been enormous. How many titles are published in one month? And, of course, there’s Charles.
He’s heard lots over the years and he never forgets.
“Charles, stop staring into the toilet.”
“Charles, what’s that red stuff on your hands?”
“Charles, how long were you in the girl’s restroom?”
“Charles, you’re a fucking maniac.”
“Charles, do you still collect cicada shells?”
Every day the voices add up. He has difficulty suppressing them. In the shadows, he watches people read. He hides behind a volume. But he’s really watching you. He’s watching you read. The store is quiet in those nooks with the soft chairs. However, Charles’ mind is as loud as a train tunnel, voices boiling out of memory. He’s that guy you see reading quietly in a corner. You have no idea.
Get up, Charles. Walk over to the reader. Grab that book and say you want back in. You want back into the world where we walk. Do it, Charles. Get up. Forget about the toilet and the cicadas. Show us how you can square off the sun between your fingers that you raise like a frame to the sky.