Sitting at the breakfast table, the repast now over except for the steaming mug of dark-brewed coffee, I am surrounded by books. On the table itself, 32 volumes arranged in six piles corresponding to various projects Sherry is working on. Hundreds more in the bookshelves hugging the walls, even more set aside in boxes on the floor.
It strikes me anew that each book, each collection of pages bound together with some purpose, proves to be not a container of sometimes wondrous thought but rather a door. “It is a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door” old Bilbo used to say. For these books, on each page, do not so much contain the content of their writers’ minds as open up those minds for our exploration. I sing not only of fictional works or narrative works (although I am shivering in anticipation of entering the mind of Mark Twain and Teddy Roosevelt even as I slog my way through Gerard Manley Hopkins). Even these philosophic and critical works open onto a mind wrestling with a problem. I look forward to exploring the mental landscape of a contemporary master as he instructs us on the magic of a sentence; I am curious about the slices of vision offered a series of interviews. Might they flay the imagination setting free a new work?
It is an embarrassment of riches I eat breakfast with each morning, sipping Indonesian coffee, stunned into immobility by the panoply of worlds awaiting my engagement.