When I’m feeling overwhelmed by choice, paralyzed by indecision, or helpless in the face of a problem bigger than I can comprehend*, I go into Readings.
For the uninitiated, Readings is a Melbourne bookstore, in business since 1969.
It has a comprehensive catalogue, which covers every genre, and an ambience which lends to complete immersion; where time seems to tick (or not) like a Dalí clock would (or would not).
Here, within the walls of this iconic bookstore, I wander the aisles, inhale the paper dust, and stare through the spines of old and new titles.
And at some point, and without fail, one of these titles will pop out at me – an answer to my being overwhelmed by them all.
Tonight’s answer was Carrie Fisher’s novel, Postcards from the Edge.
These random (or not) book purchases offer me a type of proof: that in amongst all my feelings of being overwhelmed by the problems I see, answers are there, popping out at people all the time. As are mine.
So when I walk out the door, with Carrie in my bag, I head to the tram hopeful. Hopeful that others will buy a book too, and that the selection they make is a catalyst for an answer they need to solve part of a bigger problem they see.
And if everyone buys a book and gets their answers this may compound into knowledge that will nourish the collective consciousness beyond the spines of books.
*I just watched the film A Plastic Ocean. The enormity of the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans, and the rate at which it’s growing, really hit me hard. It can’t be unseen, and it can’t be ignored.