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  • Jordan O'Connor

Happy holidays from a book addict



We’ll watch videos of animals and kids playing and feel deep sense of connection. We’re in awe of the innocence, the trust, the respect, and love they have for one another. We'll watch athletes celebrate their accomplishments and feel that we are a part of this triumph. We'll read about the sacrifices of individuals who place the ideal of life and liberty above their own needs. And we’ll share all of their quotes and images as memes on Facebook and feel we are a part of it in some way. Are we?

I have a book buying addiction. I buy more books that I can read. I struggled with reading growing up and still do; it’s labor, I tire easily. I feel a kind of haze between the words and my mind. When I read, each word is like a steep-step as I walk upstairs. My energy/focus quickly drains. Others read so much faster than me—it’s amazing! I have come to understand they are not walking upstairs with each word: for them there is no staircase, it’s a flat road.


Growing up my struggle with reading was alienating. Others read so easily while I did not. I yearned for that sense of connection. To be one of "them." Later I would find music and playing music would give me a life and a sense of purpose I had not found. It gave me a sense of connection. Books, however, were barriers. But I was convinced that in those books were keys to the unknown—keys to the understanding and acceptance I yearned to feel.


My father, an artist, instilled the notion that self-expression is self-knowledge—awareness. That there are levels, or dimensions, of existence. So whereas on the surface I yearned to “be smart,” beneath it I yearn to be connected.


So what do memes of kids-with-animals and my book addiction have in common?


Beneath it all is a deep need for connection. Feelings of alienation, of being used, exploited; the feeling of being rushed—that there’s no time to have time—and that everything is a whirlwind; that we are caught in a wind eddy: that we are endlessly picked-up and tossed around. This. This feeling of never being that which we sense and yearn, yet, if only momentarily, is found—is glimpsed—in the ideals of these shared memes and notions of being connected: we are all looking for connection.


We are looking for that which we see, when someone shows us a video of a toddler and a dog engaged, without distraction, completely focused on their connection. This is all there is; until there isn’t. So we turn and look back; seeking connection, home, acceptance, whatever the word, whatever the meme, whatever the book. All the while we are in awe of the truth of connection.


Happy Holidays from a book addict.

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