Placid Small Thought No. 2

Has anyone who has ever desired to read not also felt compelled to write? It seems only natural, the feeling that, for me, also compelled me to first pick up an instrument. But as there are only listeners of music, there will also always be only readers of books; because I am incapable of entirely separating the two sides, because reading and writing seem somehow inextricably joined, I will never know if these “only-readers” are satisfied–or even proud of not writing–as if they have successfully avoided adulterating their romance by attempting something that feels so much alien to the pleasure derived from the simple relationship of reader to page. I will never know if there is a type of satisfaction that is the particular purview of the reader, or if instead the compulsion to write does exist somewhere in these only-readers, like the princess and the pea, a consistently unfulfilled longing that dulls with time into an ache.

What kind of sickness is it that prevents me from being able to completely enjoy a book? It is a feeling that I am touching some deep mystery, and that by writing, I might come closer to deciphering its secrets. It is the compulsion to listen and to speak, when the topic of conversation becomes something that is too important to ignore, something that you had never known could be revealed to you in such a way, but which, now that it has been, feels so new as to extract your reaction almost before you’ve noticed, like a gasp or a sigh.

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