the books are heavy, stacked awkwardly into her arms and balanced somewhere at mid-neck. she holds them stiffly, balancing her body into tiny steps and if she moves her arm she’s sure her elbow will crack.
she carries a tote bag that once had been looped over her shoulder, though the straps gave up the fight long ago and have slid to elbow-height, haphazardly hanging in place held there by her coat sleeve. for a moment she’s grateful for the fabric, because the canvas straps would surely annoy her in minutes of coming into contact with bare arm.
it’s her own fault for deciding to explore a new library she doesn’t normally visit, but she faults the library with having a thirty-book limit at any given time. as she totters to the car, she is unsure of how she can possibly read them all within the month’s issue period; she’s also unsure of how she is going to unlock the car, and how she is going to put all the books away so they don’t slide and clatter around as she drives.
this, she muses, is the definition of looking for inspiration. for every ten books she has finished reading there is one she has struggled with, but so far none of them have had that special spark she has been looking for. all of these were too enticing, too interesting with covers stacked facing forward and the fonts on the spines promising a hundred stories.
at home it takes four trips to bring them all in, and her housemate only looks at her with a raised eyebrow as she staggers in with the last pile. neither of them say anything, because this isn’t a rare thing to have happen. she decorates her bedroom with stacks that come up to her knees (makes them higher before they topple menacingly) and lowers them to calf-high, makes a printout with the full list of books due and pins it to the bookcase.
for two weeks she reads steadily, tossing one book aside when she doesn’t like the author’s style, staying up too late for just one more chapter and is then surprised when it’s morning and the book is finished. for two weeks she lives other lives, in other worlds, and carries a dozen new backstories with her.
(it’s the problem with living fictionally)