Prompt: "Literature is the best way to overcome death. My father, as I said, is an actor. He's the happiest man on earth when he's performing, but when the show is over, he's sad and troubled. I wish he could live in the eternal present, because in the theater everything remains in memories and photographs. Literature, on the other hand, allows you to live in the present and to remain in the pantheon of the future.
Literature is a way to say, I was here, this is what I thought, this is what I perceived. This is my signature, this is my name."
Ilan Stavans, Professor of Spanish, Amherst College
From "The Writer in Exile: an interview with Ilan Stavans" by Saideh Pakravan for the fall 1993 issue of The Literary Review
The essay should be a personal narrative inspired by this quote.
Word limit: < 300 words
Alphabetically, by author and then by title. My selection is focused, cool, and dignified (Shoe Addicts Anonymous excluded). I wouldn't dare bend a cover or crack a binding. My mother's adage, "Books are your friends; here's a bookmark, honey" is crisp in my mind as I glance at the page number I'll pick up on tomorrow night.
However, on many summer evenings I ignore the passage of time for three or four hours, and fall to sleep without noting my page, splaying my novel face down. With luck, that bookmark will be found sequestered in the sheets before laundry day.
There's usually a short stack beside my bed (A Separate Peace, The History of Love) waiting to be leisurely enjoyed around 11:00 pm with a cold glass of sun tea. These are my comfort foods, easy to consume after years of digestion with a pen in one hand. On my desk, a solitary, hefty thing: De Beauvoir. She only takes up an 8'x6' space on my desk, but the brevity of the discussion inside makes her heavier than the Merriam-Webster single-handedly convexing my top shelf. I was led to her by Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Souls of Adolescent Girls, one of the first covers I opened in the ongoing journey to understand my world.
In an exodus from my former self, I packed away three rows of my bookcase for the back-to-school library drive. Now, only two rows are filled, down from five. The empty shelves are much larger than I realized, 3'6'' long and tall enough for all but the most dramatic work. The empowerment fiction and Philippe Claudel is all gone. It's time for something new to slip my bookmark into.
I would really appreciate any help with this!