Monday, January 5, 2009

books, books and more books

They are taking over my house, encroaching into the living room, the kitchen, the bathrooms, our bedroom - books are everywhere. We're considering turning the dining room into a library, because, obviously, reading is more important than eating. I only wish my ass reflected my priorities.

I have a long history with books. I love the experience of diving headfirst into someone else's reality, or some author's non-reality, and ignoring my own. This habit started when I was fairly young, and things were icky on the homefront. My reality was something I only experienced in short bursts between books. I remember reading Jane Eyre when I was less than ten, and rereading it several times over the years, falling more in love with it each time. As I grew, and my world expanded, my understanding of that universe expanded. The same book, but not the same. The same me, but not the same.

I also remember getting Helter Skelter from the local public library, loving it, and deciding that I couldn't part with it. This then resulted in several late notices, and a phone conversation between Mom and the librarian, during which Mom accused the librarian both of having made a mistake, and being a lunatic, because, quite logically, "She's just a kid. She's not reading about Manson." The librarian sheepishly admitted that that would be unlikely, and dropped the issue. I still have the book somewhere in my piles.

I met a woman recently who told me that she didn't read, and had probably never finished a whole book. Presumably, she doesn't have a learning disorder - she just doesn't like books. Huh? You can live without reading? She must be some sort of alien life form.

To the point: I only got through this whole (lazy baby in the tube) ordeal by forgetting about it and reading like an addict smokes crack. That is to say, I ignored my house (oh, the mess when my book binge finally ended!), my pets, dear dear Hubby, and pretty much everything/one around me.

It took a bad trip - seriously, awfully bad - to snap me out of my bender. I thought I could make the jump from novels to Serious Reading (all in the name of learning how to cope with my semi-fertility). I read self-help books, specifically miscarriage/pregnancy loss books. I had reason to believe they could save me - after all, books are the only things that keep me sane, grounded, me. Why wouldn't books about miscarriage help? I have no idea, but all I know is that they induced a feeling of illness in me not dissimilar to morning sickness. Still, I kept trying, paging through references to God and His grace (ugh - there is no God in RPL, and if there was, I'd hit him with a spinning backfist) and a lot of yuck about validating your grief (really? you mean it's ok to feel like my life has gone to crap? even though my life HAS gone to crap? got it.) I wanted to read about women like me, who want a baby so badly, and have been in the trenches forever, not about those who give up and accept childlessness. I may get there someday, but for now, I'm holding on to my mommy dreams. I banished those books into the library/dining room, and immediately got rid of my morning sickness-like feeling. And I didn't even have to have a miscarriage this time!

PS - I really like Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth about Miscarriage by Jon Cohen. It's scientific and nerdy (I like basis in fact, which is probably why I have a problem with religion), and also awesomely hopeful. I highly recommend it.

PPS - If there's anyone out there who might want a stack of books about dealing with miscarriage, and who doesn't mind references to God, they're yours. Seriously. Just ignore the eau de vomit that might accompany them.