On Unrequited Reading and Unrequited Writing
AKA The Recalled Book
The year was 2012. A friend set me up with a book.
Actually, I don’t remember who recommended the book, probably someone in my class, or maybe my tutor. There’s an outside chance that I stumbled upon a reference to it in independent research – it’s been known to happen. At the time, I had a university library account with 25 slots to burn. “What the hell, take a chance”, I thought. So I logged onto my account, and “recalled” Chris Kraus’ “I Love Dick” from whichever sap currently had the book of my dreams.
I soon became that sap.
Let me just say, this book gets around. I started it about four times. Every time I got about two thirds of the way through, and every time I had to return it before I had finished, since some cruel person – some faceless third party – had recalled my book.
I have been doomed to love “I Love Dick” from a distance.
I don’t mean to slut shame “I Love Dick”, I don’t blame it for it’s laissez-faire attitude, and it’s not that I have no experience with library books. I too have courted plenty of books. I’ve had more library books than I can count. I really tried as hard as I could (and I say this not with pride, but as a sort of confession), to have as many books out as possible throughout my four years at university. To take full advantage, if you will. Books littered my studio space, often acting in capacities other than those for which they were strictly intended… as weights, props, makeshift tables. I lived and live with books, sometimes through books, but never wholy for books. The books are for me, not I for them. I’m selfish that way. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
And yet I seldom had any books recalled. It’s possible that the only books I had recalled in 2012 were all this book.
To be honest, the volume is not even a voluminous one. This is not to say that size matters, I point this out only to say that a fast reader could easily devour it in an afternoon. I read eagerly and often, on busses, in bed, while eating. But I have somehow never learned the tricks of reading quickly, at least not when really wanting to absorb as much as possible.
So the barrage of recalls left me impotent. Our short affair (or should I say, “affairs”) have never been fully consumated.
What I don’t know, what I desperately want to know is: does “I Love Dick” love me back? We are both self-obsessed and seeking validation, we both live in alternate realities, we both desire something more from life and love than just vanilla. I think we’d be perfect together.
If you’re reading this, ILD: pls txt me, k?
Guest columnist for Natasha Matila-Smith on dicks