Matilda In Her Element
As the winter draws on (and on, and on, and on) I’m again becoming a voracious reader. As I make my pilgrimages to the library I imagine myself looking much like Matilda. My jaw drops and my eyes grow wide; I’m almost 20 years old and yet I am awed by the possibilities a library holds. It’s not the number of books that enamors me, it’s the unquantifiable amount of knowledge present in a library that enchants me.
Of course as soon as I walk into the library I forget what it is that I’m looking for, so I peruse the card catalog and shelves, waiting for something to jump off the shelf and spark my attention. Of what I’ve read recently my favorites include Roger Rosenblatt’s Making Toast, a story of his own family’s loss, gain, endurance and love. I quickly read this beautiful little morsel and returned it, just to find another work of brilliance that I had never thought to pick up before: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. How have I lived this long without reading Maya Angelou? She is perhaps the most effective author I have ever read. Both loving and judgmental, the characterization of her younger self is so human. I usually don’t enjoy autobiographies (they tend to be self-engrandizing or just plain dishonest), but this was so much more. It’s as if she’s speaking directly to you, imparting her wisdom on you and you alone.
The thing is, eating disorders don’t plague the focused mind; they attach themselves to brains that are making decisions or working from a routine. When I’m reading (which is my primary form of learning these days) it’s impossible to beat myself up for eating breakfast or simply existing. Why? One may ask. A book can transport me from my world (made difficult by trivialities like high-pitched elementary school voices and cold winters) to Stamps, Arkansas, circa 1940. But ED is illiterate, he, therefore, cannot follow.