I don’t think there is a single person on Long Island who hasn’t listened to David Bouchier read one of his essays over the airwaves with that incredible British accent. His essays discuss things as simple as talking about the change of seasons to those as complex as going to the mall.
The eloquent Mr. Bouchier was in Sag Harbor on Friday at Canio’s Books, and as a writer I’m feeling particularly inspired by his presence.
So what exactly is a book reading at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor? Why do we as acrimonious beings in this society of antipathy and dissemblance partake in this seemingly ancient tradition of sitting before a person and listening to them read words from a book they have transcribed, on perhaps a fresh piece of parchment, something as simple as a haiku poem from an ebullient napkin. The word, the spoken word from the lips of men, is as ancient as dither from the sun into the shadows of the world.
Do other animals partake in such an activity? Perhaps a wild group of Tasmanian Devils off the efferent coast of the Zimbabwean jungles get together in secret to listen to one prominent devil read about his forays into the forest to find food, or perhaps, better yet, his forays of finding a lover. Or do dolphins, considerably the most grandiloquence of intelligent creatures, listen to an author speak inside the great library that is the florid ocean, an ocean of clicks and squeaks and poetry? Will one day the great explorers of the deep, implacable ocean discover a pair of sea horses frolicking about, reading an impudent story from an essay about the inimical existence of life underwater? Perhaps our intransigent consciousness cannot even process these great lyricists that our animal relatives speak to each other while reading from books bound to a language that only they understand, or may I make a joke, that the Chinese only understand.
But what I will say about the languid world of book reading at the local bookstore inside of our American society is that it is very much the society juxtaposed against a canvas of intellect and a gritty spirit, for which we all must be thankful. If it wasn’t for this society of readers, those who thirst for knowledge and have a strong desire of mawkish parsimony that brings them on a quest through a river of words, rhymes and ideas, stirring their minds into a soup of pathos that only the great Greek Gods of Zeus and Athena could possibly dream of understanding, are we able to truly enjoy the small town pleasure, truly, the simple pleasure, of attending and participating in a book reading.
The great minds of Thomas Edison, Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein and Lady Gaga have all proscribed for mankind a need to share knowledge. And it is very much that simple pleasure of sharing, a pugnacious sharing indeed, a sharing of rectitude combined with a rancor that is very bitter, but always inexplicably sweet.
This is David Rattiner….