So I was sitting thinking about the poem, The Lords of Life, and wondering why it was my favorite poem. When I first read it I was sitting in a college library reading whatever I could get my hands on that wasn’t a textbook. I loved being in a library, the smell of the books, the shelves upon shelves of information. I could live in a library with comfy chairs and couches and no computers except for the one computer that helps you find the books you need. It is the one piece of technology I really think became a necessity since the old system of looking up a book on a card catalog was truly frustrating. You either couldn’t find the card you were looking for because someone had pulled it out or the book simply wasn’t there. Wandering down aisle after aisle, touching the bindings tenderly like an old friend waiting to find that one that pops out at you and makes you want to open it up and dive in. I could find myself in a library for hours not worrying about what time it was or where I needed to be. It was and is my place to forget the outside world and find a place to hide or journey to another world.
Emerson is someone I would have liked to have known. When I read The Lords of Life I smiled instantly, touched by the connection I felt between me and the writer whom I had never met till then. I smiled because I got it, the realization that I could finally understand a poem that I read. I had read many poems before then, but I could never truly feel connected to any of them, and none of them could I understand completely. I just wondered if there was something wrong with me because people around me would read poems and say oh this is so wonderful. Why, because it rhymes?
At that time I was going to college during the fall after I had graduated from high school. I had registered two weeks after the semester started so I was two weeks behind but it could have been two years because I couldn’t find a way to keep up with what I had missed. So I hid in the library soaking up the information wishing I could read everything by osmosis. It was there I met Emerson and he began my journey of discovery. I found out what it means to learn, to truly understand, and to love knowledge. High school was a chore, an undeniable chore or torturous adventure of learning how to do as one is told; and to jump through hoops. Never question, never really understand anything, but how to follow directions, smile politely to authority, and push on through. Staring out windows was my ultimate pass time. I went to a high school for a short while with no windows, it nearly killed me, nearly choked me to death. Why would you build anything without windows? Especially a place of learning.
I discovered Emerson and learned there was a bigger world than I could ever imagine. However, he was not my first love, I had met other amazing lovers who changed my life. For instance, Edward Abbey made me see the side of environmentalism that I truly wanted to be apart of . I learned through Hayduke that you should be whomever you want to be, and try to save the planet while your at it. I was introduced to John Steinbeck and found that people are amazing creatures who have many dynamic sides and are strong and resilient despite what the world throws at them. When I was 16 I fell in love with The Grapes of Wrath. This is when I was exposed to a remarkable world that I never wanted to leave. It was the first book I ever read that I wanted more, I wanted to follow those people through numerous generations, and find out if they grew and changed or stayed within the confines of their environment.
Through books I discover parts of myself I never knew existed. I am reminded of human nature and how strong and resilient people can be. I think of the authors writing the books and wonder where they come up with their ideas. In reality I know I do it everyday, I find myself meeting people and watching them thinking they would be a good character in a book. And the beauty of putting them in a book is I can change them like modeling clay to images I think would fit inside another world. Reading books is like diving into another universe and discovering beauty in the strangest places. Or falling in love with characters you probably wouldn’t ever give the time of day to in real life.