It has been a drought. Clicking through the Latest Headlines online, scanning joyless funny pages while slurping short breaks in small rooms, consuming instruction manuals, recipes, and all the necessary forms. Cycling in place while a parade of used magazines flutter past, each regurgitating the same beauty and diet tips, only using different words. (It’s wise to sanitize afterward.) A tome of philosophy lies by the bedside, dense as a brick; it provides three or four sentences of bushwhacking each night, then the forager falls off the cliff into sleep.

Then a book. Left for someone else. Abandoned, uncalled for. But opened randomly in the middle, it’s like diving into the ocean. Time is gone, and task, and the pages devour the reader and the reader the pages, waves of narrative and motif, one of the seven great plots, breaking over not only the brain but the being. Several hours later, much later than advisable for tomorrow’s mood, spent but unfinished, rising from the trance, a slumbering thirst has been slaked. The world is large again.

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