“Book…are immutable…We like books because they stay the same ”– David Byrne, The Velocity of Being
Nothing can be relied upon as concrete. Nothing is immune to that all-pervasive ephemerality inherent to existence itself. Nothing except books that is. Books are the only true unmoved movers I know of. It is their immovable fixity in the face of a world that is unfastened and always tottering that helps to keep us moving forward. Books give us the stability of a sure structure even, and, perhaps, especially within the chaotic randomness of this place we haphazardly and hesitantly call home. Despite all the capriciousness of our attempts to clearly define things, and in spite of the fact that the factual can often prove to be fickle, books are still there, ever-reliably present and unchanging.
They are unflinching when we are at our most unsteady. They are unafraid when our thoughts are flailing. When the path is faltering, when the ground itself feels unreliable, books are the offer of assured footing. When the light in the heavens and at the end of the tunnel begins to flicker and wane, books, Matt Haig says, are “salvation from the dark.” And even when we feel confined, cornered, and closed off, when are so impossibly stuck and stagnant, “Books are possibilities”, Haig goes on to say; “They give [us] options when [we] have none,” and “Each one can be a home for an uprooted mind.”
It is the stable solidity of books that show us that things can be different, that our circumstances can be altered, that things can always change, that they always do, and we, ourselves, can always change too. They do not guarantee that all our questions will be answered in the end. Nor do they guarantee that the ending will always be a happy one, but they do guarantee that the story is going somewhere, and that the surety of it’s unfolding is meaningful.