“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” -Pablo Picasso
For the length of time that I lived there, the town that I grew up in contained around 11,000 people. There was one mall and one main road that the same teenage cars would drive down over and over again, blasting their bass-heavy tunes as if, through repetition, the moment would be made eternal. I had my own moments of blasting music to terrify the locals, but those that I really held on to – when I was aware of my own sense of eternity – were the ones that I spent among books, in that largely imagined world that stems so much from small town life.
In the early teenage years, I would go to the library every Saturday to search for Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High books I hadn’t yet read; once I vaulted into high school, I would seek out the few books I was curious about that were available, novels by Ayn Rand and Kurt Vonnegut, Ernest Hemingway and Emily Bronte. There happened to be a line of windows at the back of the library that looked out on a patch of trees, a place where I was held among nature and books – a reverential solitude.