Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I was listening in on a discussion about electronic books - a thing which , despite my participation in this electronic medium, is not close to my heart. Someone mentioned the as-yet indeterminate LIFE-SPAN of data stored on such devices. Electronic pulses were broached as a grave danger. Once I am in the grave maybe I shall find out if this is true. Someone then mentioned that anyone who so desired could alter a text with which they disagreed, before saving it electronically. The idea! The idea , indeed. Such a thing has always happened. Alteration of texts was happening in medieval scriptoriums. There have always been and will always be texts with which some will disagree. What better way to disagree with something than to just disappear it. Expunge it! Expurgate the offending passage! So easy. POOF! GONE! Idea? What idea? Opinion? What opinion? These literary depilations have always been going on. It is not just confined to scriptoriums or weird electronic/energy pulses. I have have noticed the mutability of books themselves - as they sit on the shelves! One takes a book down off the shelf and sits, perusing this passage or that - reading for pleasure or knowledge - and why should those two be separate, eh? The acquisition of knowledge should be pleasurable. Anyway ... one takes a book down and reads a passage. Then one puts the book back in its proper place on the shelf. Later, wishing to revisit the passage - refresh ones familiarity with sentiments expressed therein - one takes the book down and opens it to the page whereon that passage lives, only to find that the passage has changed.! It is no longer recognizable as the words one had previously read! The book has changed. Such things point to the mutability of quotidian reality. I do not think mischievous book gremlins are sneaking into my library and thus altering books - rewriting passages ... How could they, short of magickal intervention? But it is not magic. I posit a dimensional intervention - a dimensional interpenetration into my world that is acting as supplicant on behalf of ideas not yet realised! The passage had changed . Wait - you say - could it be my memory at fault? A misreading or misremembering of the passage. Not so! I have my notes - I have copied the passage out. I can compare my copied passage with the changeling passage. They are different. The book has changed! But wait ... changeling .... changelings ... such things are commonly reported in Irish folklore .... is it indeed the work of some otherworldly Gremlins? Is it possible that my book is a changeling? That the original book was spirited away by leprechauns or some other mischievous imp and replaced with this faux book .. not a faux book, for it is real enough ... but it is not the same book ... This is disturbing. I am now looking at the shelves of my library -- all of them crammed with books, top to bottom. Favorite books with favorite passages ... beloved companions .... dare I think they are still the same? Or are they changelings, substituted and filled with strange passages that I will have no ken of ... ? I have now set myself the task of retrieving each book down and reading for altered passages. My books. My beloved beauties ... companions through dark nights, salving my anxieties with consoling passage through the wee hours. So far I have examined 23 volumes and have found changeling passages in every one of them.

1 comment:

paperbackpunk said...

Bravo! You have discovered senility, embrace it.
Either it appeared in the original perusal of your favorite writings, or in the subsequent note-writing done by yourself, but it is easily recognized.
The changeling is you, dear Professor.