The printed book is a technological marvel
#2 Ideas on a page
Welcome to the Ideas on a page column, the paid-only section of Wait! Just Listen, on ways we create and express ideas in long-form. It is a space where I share my personal notes on ideation and writing, that I’ve cobbled together through the past decade and a half as a writer and academic. Think of it as a melting pot of literary ruminations distilled into short actionable essays.
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It’s 6:30 in the morning and coffee is my only comfort towards softening the punch of the alarm clock. I’m precariously balancing my freshly brewed morning beverage on the arm of my sofa stubbornly believing that gravity will turn a blind eye just this once, despite the misfortunes of our previous encounters, evidenced by the dried up coffee smudges on the upholstery.
I delicately turn the yellowed pages of an Anton Chekov novel I’m re-reading for the umpteenth time - the rustling of the pages and the musty smell of an old book, that dryness with a touch of the sea - seemed a fitting tribute to the illustrious history of late 19th century Russian intelligentsia. As I settle in to my pre-work morning routine, my 4-year old son comes racing through the corridors of the hallway, with an alarmed expression - his seriousness only betrayed by the remnant baby-fat on his rosy cheeks.
“Daddy, I’m sorry to say but I think there are small people living under our floor”, as he vigorously recreates the creaking sounds of the floorboards by stomping on it. A sudden but warm realisation dawns upon me; the heart of life’s experience lies in the tactility of every thing. We understand and inquire more when we touch and feel the objects around us. That’s just the way it is. The book, the coffee, the floorboards. All objects, each with a story to tell and an experience to savour.
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