This library is not for the living, it spirals down deep into the earth, ancient tunnels unending and unrelenting to the wear of time. Stories spill over and poison the minds of the unminding and unaware. Within these walls there are a thousand things piled on one another.
None of the books are in their proper places and there are unwritten stories wandering the halls and frantic librarians scrambling to identify and classify new books and old, discarded and recently returned. Some are old and dog-eared and written in a language not uttered in a thousand years or one that will not be written for a thousand more. Mischievous thoughts and emotions run around plucking things from shelves, tearing pages and mislabeling the unlabeled.
There are crumbs left on the floor and spilt drinks from scholars long gone, soaking into the wooden tables. Lamps with missing light bulbs and cables that seem to connect things that ought not connect. Pictures of faces torn and forgotten left tapped to walls and loose pages with poems and scribbled ideas lie strewn everywhere. There is more chaos than books and less knowledge than noise.
How lovely to imagine that a heart can be sorted so easily as a library in disarray. To imagine that stories and ideas remain on pages and in books when really the words tangle and pull on one another and occasionally disappear leaving only the impression of a thought and perhaps a lingering sense of the thing. How dear it would be to hold your worries in your arms arranged eloquently on pages bound so as not to forget the order. How charming to see moments strung across walls with silver plaques identifying the emotions and impact of each particular encounter.
No this library is not for the living, life is chaos and pain and joy and these things cannot be confined to pages and put away on shelves. They swell like waves, appear and disappear and make noise. They are welcome sometimes and intrusive often, like an unexpected guest on a Monday evening demanding to be fed and housed on the grounds of blood. The heart is a complicated place, time is rarely acknowledged and convenience is altogether ignored.
written by Anja Venter