On my Facebook page, I asked, “What book do you want to live in?” and oh, were there answers:
“In the Night Kitchen.”
“The Story of O.”
“Not the Old Testament, that’s for sure!”
Others called for the works of Terry Prachett, Colette, Ian Banks, Ursula Le Guin . . . There were so many. And one reader said, “I love this question!”
I love it, too. So much so that my work with nerve is all about performative fiction: recreating a book, a story, as something you can enter, can experience on a physical, sensory level.
The brothel of the Poppy, with its scent of whiskey and faded flowers . . .
. . . the storming pipe organ and the chill of John Faustus’ hell . . .
. . . and now, the mystery of Alice’s Wonderland, where life is a very serious game, played by a fierce Red Queen, in the flicker of shadows on the stairway, and the smell of burnt sugar . . . .
All of us, all the passionate readers, want to enter into, live in, the landscape of a favorite book – it’s what we do when we read and reread them; when they become so much a part of us that we feel we might hesitate a moment – maybe more than a moment – before coming out again, to our real lives.
Performative fiction is one name for it. The other is a reader’s dream come true. And there are so many books on the shelves . . . See you between the covers!
[All photos: Rick Lieder.]