I’ve been reading a book (yes, I can read and actually comprehend the black characters on the page) titled Matched by Ally Condie.
As is often the case, I begin to obsess and then dream about certain elements that I find intriguing or odd in the book. There’s a belief that we can “escape into the realm of books” which I’ve taken quite literally since I discovered my love for reading and writing as a child.
For example, after reading Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach I obsessed over finding a magic peach pit which also led to very vivid dreams of being kidnapped by talking insects. I would wake up in a cold sweat wondering if the bugs in our family garden were plotting a takeover of the house. Why I decided to graduate to authors like Stephen King, James Patterson, Dean Koontz and others is still a mystery.
I love books. My wife loves books too which makes for interesting conversations some times. There is nothing more intellectually stimulating than a good book. There was a period in my professional life when I was traveling 80% of the time for work. During that time I averaged a new title every week. It was a time when I needed that release from the reality of fatherhood and being bread-winner.
But reading comes with consequences; it leaves a residue on my subconscious that manifests itself in lifelike portrayals of the written word on a stage in my mind. Dreams that leave me fearful, exhilirated, entertained, laughing or (most often) confused.
I don’t have a lot of time to read anymore but when I do find a good book that I can immerse myself into, the after effects are still as intense as they were when I believed I was going to be ravaged by a grasshopper a spider and a caterpillar in the waning moments before dawn.
So Matched has me all twisted in the head because its author paints a realistic picture of what life might be like if it were all planned out for you by someone else based on probability, statistics and averages. Last night I dreamed that I lived in a Utopian society where my meals were designed to give me specific portions on a catered diet to maximize my growth potential and life expectancy. And yet no matter how healthy I became I knew that I would die at age 80 because that’s when you’re expected to lose all of your youth, vitality and usefulness in society anyway.
Suddenly I’m married to Janeane Garofolo, I work in an incinerator burning books and I’m only allowed to participate in one recreational activity per week and it drives me nuts because who can be sane and married to Janeane Garofolo at the same time?
So this morning I jumped out of bed, walked over to my wife’s side of the bed and made sure that she was that sweet little blonde from San Diego and not a robotic imp strategically placed in my home to bore me to death with details about her political aspirations and equally tiresome movie and television roles.
I love books, but they sure screw me up sometimes.