why is it that girls will read anything and boys need to be seduced into reading at all? one of the tidbits of information that has stayed with me from the toronto public library‘s last tutor training session is that boys will not read unless they witness (that’s see with their eyes) an older male figure (that they respect) in their lives reading. this detail kept coming up as roger ebert lovingly describes his father as reader. a letter that i received from the lady reverend today (which also served as a reminder that i did send her a band-aid with jesus’ likeness on it-a reminder that i should probably try to rein it in, sometimes) asking me, “what is it, dear girl, that you do for a living?” also calls into question the things we do for living, and the things we do for life. this being the beginning of 2012’s black history month, i’d like to link everything together by shouting out alfie roberts, a man invaluable to montreal’s black community. though i never met the man in person, i began to get to know him through his books. my roommate and creator of baobab magazine, shortly before her departure from the city, decided to take on the task of attempting to archive the man’s books in hopes of one day turning his personal collection into a lending library. this was a man who made a conscious choice to stay “the people”, but he lived unabashedly in his books, scribbling in margins in many a rare edition, and this most recent turn of my life to devour books like there is no tomorrow (there might not be) is less a project and more of a lifestyle.
“What’s sad about not eating is the experience, whether at a family reunion or at midnight by yourself in a greasy spoon under the L tracks. The loss of dining, not the loss of food. Unless I’m alone, it doesn’t involve dinner if it doesn’t involve talking. The food and drink I can do without easily. The jokes, gossip, laughs, arguments, and memories I miss. I ran in crowds where anyone was likely to start reciting poetry on a moment’s notice. Me too. But not me anymore. So yes, it’s sad. Maybe that’s why writing has become so important to me. You don’t realize it, but we’re at dinner right now.” (382-3)
“Our friendship has endured despite the inescapable fact that I don’t care very much about horse racing and Bill doesn’t seem to go to many movies. Our bond is reading, and our subject is often not far removed from the Meaning of it All. We are puzzled that we are now nearly seventy. How did that happen? Our conversations all take place in the present tense. We are always meeting for the first time. When you’re young you don’t realize that at every age you are always in the present, and in that sense no older; when I look at Bill I see the same man I met in Illinois. He’s one of the lucky ones whose lifelong work didn’t change him but only confirmed the person he was all along.” (303)
mister ebert‘s, too. game recognize game, sir.