Literature is such a profound and deep way to look into someone else's life, his mind, his hopes and thoughts. Books have opened so many doors for me, taking me to places where my normal life and its finite limits could never have.
From the beginnings of literature, poets and writers have based their narratives on crossing borders, on wandering, on exile, on encounters beyond the familiar. The stranger is an archetype in epic poetry, in novels. The tension between alienation and assimilation has always been a basic theme.
Surely it is a magical thing for a handful of words, artfully arranged, to stop time. To conjure a place, a person, a situation, in all its specificity and dimensions. To affect us and alter us, as profoundly as real people and things do.
My youngest son's pre-school class was recently asked what their dads do for work. The responses were things like, my dad sells money, and my dad figures stuff out. My son said, 'I've never seen my dad do work.' It's true. Skateboarding doesn't seem like real work, but I'm proud of what I do.