Girl Half Empty

//What an odd thing a diary is: the things you omit are more important than those you put in//
- Simone de Beauvoir
/June winner of the diary competition/


6. //And we note our place with bookmarkers That measure what we've lost.//

June 3rd

Making exceptionally wise use of my study leave today, I decided to stand in Waterstones and inhale the words enshrined there. I used to think that libraries and book shops were temples in which people paid their respects to the Gods that rewrote them. Each loan was an offering to the incense of old spines and new journeys and each page was another fruit from the forbidden tree. Every book was temptation and redemption; and our lives reshaped themselves to fit within the dustjackets’ command. We prayed and the words rendered answers, we searched and ruffled the ink and found some sort of blasphemous heaven there among the paperbacks.

Then I thought that libraries were time machines and there was not a single word that did not escape the rules of science. They all had the power to reinstate me wherever they desired; transporting the walls of my home town to the horizon so that I could unwind molecular movement and exist again within some alternative imagination.

I blame the world for taking my temples and my time machines.

Because today I stood in Waterstones and felt my possibilities narrowing and narrowing until I did not believe that friends and rulers were pressed between paper sheets like forget-me-nots.

I wanted to breathe words but breathed nothing of the sort.

I wanted to believe that I could rinse away reality.

But I’ve grown too old and critical for the Teenage Literature that Waterstones has to offer and I don’t have the bravery to raid the isles reserved for adults. I’ve read and written too much to continue to worship the books aimed at my age group; they never balance the adjectives quite right or veer from the publicity paths of vampires, dystopia and romance.

What if I am a teenager who does not want to find that every piece of teenage literature reads the same? What if I am a teenager who would crouch for three hours on the floor to read a whole book I couldn’t pay for? What if I am a teenager who wants to reaffirm faith in the uniqueness I was once taught to believe in?

Because, really, all those books of twinned love affairs and twinned melodrama and twinned tragedy were a little too much like the school tennis courts. People slide easily from their shelves, pretending to be different but never having the conviction to abandon the shepherd’s flock. I was once told that no two people are the same, but if you take away thumbprints and snowflakes the truth is that we just keep photocopying each other.

I’m not different.

I’m music taste plagiarised from here, I’m humour plagiarised from here, I’m philosophy plagiarised from here… We’re all made of the same dictionary; we just reorder the words and masquerade as a something new.

So I seized book after book after book without being satisfied and then returned them, book after book after book. I am a Rapunzel of my own creation; putting every possible world away from me. Then I left as a heretic; excommunicated from the religion I used to practice.

I didn’t know un-opened books could make me so sad.

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