all the books I haven’t read

There are two stacks of books on the top of my bookshelf. I’ve accumulated them from  birthdays and secondhand shops and indie bookstores. They’re a motley crew, from Nabokov’s Speak, Memory to Sincero’s You Are A Badass. They stare at me from their place against the wall. The sheer size of the piles is enough to frighten me.

They make me think. We are so much harsher on writers than anyone else. How dare they misspell, leave fragments. They should know better. How dare they say that, imply this, express their political opinions, talk about their private lives. He writes too much, she too little. Too many metaphors, not enough imagery. It’s bad writing, if only they’d give more closure. If only they’d know all the answers.

This Christmas, I felt desperate for solitude. I picked up one of the books I received for Christmas, bluets by Maggie Nelson. It was the wrong choice. Too philosophical to fully absorb while drinking wine and cleaning up wrapping paper. But I read it anyway, underlining moments I liked that I’d hopefully return to. Suddenly, I heard the light stumble of feet across the floor. My little cousin clambered over, and sat in my dad’s armchair with her own book, the one that came with her American Girl doll. I smiled at her. We must be both be attracted to paper, to silence. Both bad writers, trying to learn.

by Danielle Fusaro

photo taken of phil; Vienna, Austria. 

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