“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.”—Vladimir Nabokov
Today is World Book Day, a worldwide celebration of books and reading—and so, most definitely, words. On this day that saw the birth or death of so many authors (Shakespeare at 450, Cervantes, Nabokov, Ngaio Marsh), I’m oddly wondering if I should really have chosen words over numbers, let myself languish in their seductive realms, like Odysseus on the island of the lotus-eaters (Northern Africa, we’re told).
I have lost myself most happily (for the most part) in beautiful language, in books—reading, writing, and helping to publish. Today, ironically, I’ve been threatened with an end to the publishing, an end to those particular words. But that would mean more time for the words that matter to me: my own. (Where am I, here? How have I become lost in the beautiful language?)
I’m wondering if I should have pursued the numbers, which I was also once good at. The algebra, the symbolic logic, the database design, the more lucrative career. My Gemini nature was torn; my hesitations and fears of failing all too easily won out. And perhaps I failed, ironically, in that?
But I am feeling the miraculous potential of the words now, even now. I, too, am clamoring to become visible. To be not lost but what I am. Someone who—with those others—wants above all to be told. And to celebrate this day of words.
image: She Who Is