DAY FOUR/PHOTO 101: BLISS=BOOKS
My definition of Bliss: The moments, hours, occasionally more than a day, when I have this sense that there’s plenty in my life; that I’m doing exactly what I want to do for this time in time, and that I have the means to make it last a little longer. Sensations of sufficiency elation harmony anticipation; separately good—all at once…blissful.
Easiest path to bliss in my life. Books. Always. Here, to tell you that story is a picture book.
When I was four, I had a Geography Book. Couldn’t really read much of it but I dreamed through those pictures of the world outside.
As soon as I could read there was a wall of books at school to which I had unlimited access and a library in town. I dreamed books. Literally. In my dreams the books I wanted would be lying next to me on my pillow and I would, literally, reach for them when I awoke, only sad to find they were’t there until the next trip to library.
There’s a tiny part of me that is always blissful as long as I have books.
Through my life as a perpetual student I’ve studied history and literature and writing (even when I was supposed to be focusing on education and social work). It seems I immerse in a genre and then move on, but only sort of, because I never leave my previous literary infatuations—I just make them share with the next love.
History, literary fiction, travel adventure, travel literature, political and social commentary are always just a shelf away but the competition for my attention is pretty intense.
First, because there are always newbies, virginal in their Barnes and Nobel bags— without dog ears or creased covers—stirring stories to be lived vicariously. Secondly…
Then there’s the main competition, the kind of book that never leaves my bedside table or bed. Crime Fiction, generally of the international kind. More specifically of the Nordic Noir branch of the big bad crime family. It’s my go-to remedy for melancholy and tedium; it is both escape and companion for wanna-be outsiders like me.
My obsession with Nordic Noir and present desire for semi-immersion in Norwegian literary fiction come together right here. It is indeed blissful to contemplate the past, present and future in this photo. My somber Scandinavian soul has had many chilly adventures with that dour Swede, Kurt Wallander, and Kurt’s entire life is always only an arm’s length away for me to revisit at will. Past and future bliss assured.
Present. This weekend. Late winter/early spring 2015. I am experiencing many hours of bliss with Karl Ove Knausgaard, Norwegian writer of recent fame. To admit that moments of annoyance interrupt this bliss is okay isn’t it? After all bliss would not be a special state if we weren’t constantly reminded that most of life is otherwise.
Come to think of it. Knausgaard can account for the past present future components of bliss all by himself. The books are ever so appealing; it took a long time to read the first; now a long time to read the second; and there are three more to go. The pleasure of now coupled with eagerness to finish one day. Bliss and anticipation. All rolled into one. Wow.