“It was good to walk into a library again; it smelled like home.”
― Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian
I haven’t been to a library since I was 18. Having got into the habit of buying books I wanted to read in the past 16 years I haven’t so much as stepped foot into a library. Forgetting all of the additional benefits that a library holds.
In an effort to try and overcome some of my anxiety issues and try to leave the house I took a leap of faith, and some Valium and ventured to my local library.
As I stepped through the doors, the smell overcame me, that smell of well-read books, and peace. It dawned on me that I had come home, I was in a safe place, and I suddenly didn’t feel quite as anxious anymore.
I went through the process of signing up for a library card, quite an achievement for someone who hates contact with strangers, then I spent time browsing the shelves, picking up books, inhaling the scent of paper, ink, and stories…the stories within the books, the stories of where the books have been, what they have seen and what they have done.
As I sat down in a quiet corner with a book I started thinking of all the stories library books could tell beyond what is printed in their pages. The proverbial fly on the wall, they could tell stories from people’s homes which would contend with the best romance, tragedies, horrors, thrillers and drama’s ever written.
Real life is truly interesting when we look at those small snippets, as a stranger, from the outside. I wonder how my story would look on the pages of a book, what people would think if they were a fly on my wall.
I must have spent two hours in that library, reading, daydreaming and thinking about my life as a novel. The life of someone with bipolar disorder is certainly interesting, a constant rollercoaster!
However the story would look in print, one thing is certain, being in a library made me feel safe. This is not something I take for granted when going almost anywhere these days makes me feel so anxious I can’t breathe.
I am actually looking forward to going back to the library and discovering something new and, of course, something old.