“There will always be a line between who you
       are and who you could be. The question is,
   are you willing to cross that line?”

Olivia Carter

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Copyright Olivia Carter 2014

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head,  directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another.

Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.”

~ Carl Sagan (Astronomer)

Just the other day I was in the library sifting
through dozens of potential sources for a term
paper. I scanned my eyes up and down the shelves,
counting in my head “PX 1005, PX1006, PX1007…” and
suddenly it hit me. How many books were in this
library! Enough to fill A thru Z twice over, with the
numbers of books in each letter numbering up to 1000.
And that was only the first floor collection. This library had three more floors!

And that was only one library. There are thousands of libraries out there. Filled with millions more books.That is a lot of books. All created using the same 26 letters in various combinations.

As a reader, I was initially overcome with sadness, that I would never have the time to read them all. As a writer, I worried that my name would be lost among the millions of other authors, most of whom were famed from the days of papyrus and quill.

But then my eyes caught the spine of one book. One out of thousands. This book was so old and so worn that I had to remove it from the shelf and open it to the first page just to read the title. Its pages were yellow and coming unbound and it possessed that comforting smell that only old books do. I read the title, “Thoughts on Man” and then, just below it, the publication date, 1876.

Immediately, I knew I had to bring this book home with me. Though it had nothing to do with medieval theology, the very presence of the book was awe-inspiring enough to need to read it. This book was 140 years old. And its pages were so soiled and torn that I knew it had not simply sat on that shelf for all that time.

I looked it over, considering who must have read it, whose hands also held it. My television show preferences wormed into my mind and I imagined Lady Mary reclined on a couch reading this book. How incredible.

The condition of this one book erased all of my previous thoughts. This library was not filled with books. It was filled with moments. Moments in time that people, who loved these moments, trapped in ink. So that, here I stood, cursing the sketchy WiFi on my iPhone as I tried to locate library books in an air-conditioned college library. And at the same time, reading a collection of words that a man named William Godwin heard echoing in his mind over a century ago.

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