Books. They are lined up on shelves or stacked on a table. There they are wrapped up in there jackets, lines of neat print on nicely bound pages. They look like such orderly, static things. Then you, the reader come along. You open the book jacket, and it can be like opening the gates to an unknown city, or opening the lid of a treasure chest. You read the first word and you're off on a journy of exploration and discovery.
What I saw next stopped me dead in my tracks. Books. Not just one or two dozen, but hundreds of them. In crates. In piles on the floor. In bookcases that stretched from floor to ceiling and lined the entire room. I turned around and around in a slow circle, feeling as if I'd just stumbled into Ali Baba's cave. I was breathless, close to tears, and positively dizzy with greed.
We were never organized readers who would see a book through to its end in any sory of logical order. We weave in and out of words like tourists on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour. Put a book down in the kitchen to go to the bathroom and you might return to find it gone, replaced by another of equal interest. We are indiscriminate.
The characters within a book were, from a certain point of view, identical on some fundamental level? There weren't any images of them, no physical tangibility whatsoever. They were pictures in the reader's head, constructs of imagination and ideas, given shape by the writer's work and skill and the reader's imagination. Parents, of a sort.