I just got a new job. This is good. It's at a carrot factory. This is less good. The hours are, shall we say, rather long. This is good and bad. Good, as the pay will be good. Bad, because working eight straight days for 85 hours and spending another 12 commuting eats up a huge part of your life. That's almost 100 hours out of a little more than a week. The pickings are a little bare after that. You scrape a minute off the ground here, find a few seconds around a corner there. Make a little pile and maybe you have a nice shiny hour.
To help myself through this I need, well, a carrot.
Dangle me something and I will chase. And my carrot to survive carrots is, of course, books.
On my only day off (after helping some family members move) I found some time to slip off to a bookstore. A chocolate iced-frappuccino in hand, I wandered. These were much better carrots than the ones I blasted with a water cannon for eleven or twelve hours a day.
So many covers, and pages, and words. So many sentences strung and set to dangle like bright Christmas lights.
I went with no set agenda. Just the lure of possibility, the dream of the unexpected. There's nothing quite like a bookstore -- tens of thousands of little treasure chests all set to be opened.
Be vewy, vewy quiet. I'm hunting cawwots.
I perused. Fingers sliding down rows, tap tap tapping on spines. Some I slide out. A glimpse of a cover. Words on the back. A flip of pages just to get the heft and feel of the book -- a sense of the texture of the pages, of how the book will fold and feel in my hand. Each book has a unique quality, vibrating at its own subtle and unique frequency.
Eventually I splurge, buying two instead of one. I end up with the new trade paperback of Lorrie Moore's A Gate at the Stair and Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor.
Magical carrots. There was something particular about these books, about the covers, the pages, the weight, the feel, the subtle and particular thingyness of the books and the stories they promised. They were the ones. I'd be back of course. One needs more than two carrots over the course of a life. But for now, these were the carrots I wanted. The chosen ones.
Now if only I had time to read.
And what about you? What are your carrots? Do any of you have book rewards? Get this done, succeed at this, survive that, and the new book by your favourite author will be yours? What are your favourite carrot books?
Because everyone needs carrot books. Right?