The writer and the book

I’ve never done it. Actually, that’s a lie. I’ve done it once, because I had to. Because I had to keep track of what I was doing, what I was thinking, and what I had to remember. But I hated every second of it. Hated every single time I had to put a mark down on those pages.

Writing in a book, I cannot condone it so it seems. Behind me a colleague is happily marking sentence after sentence. Every time I hear that pencil going over the pages, I cringe. I’ve worked in a book store for so many years, this is blasphemy in its worst form for me. I understand why he does it, I once did it myself simply because I had too. It was in Beowulf, I had to write an essay on it when studying archaeology and after writing about a hundred notes on several pages in my general notebook I realised that this wasn’t going to work. If only because in between the pages with the notes there were several other pages with other notes and scribbles that had nothing to do with the respective essay. So for the first time ever, I had to do the one thing I always vowed to never do: I had to write in a book…

The problem I quickly encountered was that I had a study-version of Beowulf, meaning a book with slightly glossy papers (that book was heavy to carry around I recall). Half the pens I use on a daily basis would simply not stick to the pages. I either write with a fountain or a gel pen, both of which refuse to stick to glossy pages. It made the pain even worse as I had to actively look for either a ballpoint (they make my hand cramp up) or a pencil (and therefore, a sharpener). Actively search for the thing that will, in my eyes, destroy a book. The only thing I could do to ease the pain was to act like I was in some Harry Potter book, and I found that one Potions-book with all the notes made by the Half Blood Prince. Believe me, that trick did not work for long. Every time I see that copy of Beowulf on my shelves I still feel guilty. Only dog ears would make it worse, ooh wait…

And here I sit, in an office full of researchers who have no problem with dog ears, or with writing in books. And I cringe every single day while trying to get used to the awful sound of pencils scratching on innocent papers. Will I ever get used to it?

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