Tuesday, September 25, 2007
It takes time and space to make art and to create community and what I treasure in Books & Books is the way it brings the two together. Our precious bookshop has always reminded me of the ancient mosques of Cairo and Damascus which are constructed around a central courtyard. The interior of the mosques are hung with ornate brass lanterns and the floor of the courtyard is made of polished marble covered with silk carpets. Those in search of prayer, inspiration, or solace are invited to remove their shoes and to kneel or sit on the carpets. From the visitor’s perspective on the floor, the sky overhead is soaring and immense yet safely limned by the walls of the mosque. Such holy spaces are doors to invisible worlds: a way to respectfully contain the sky, so it doesn’t swallow us whole. We speak and read each other’s words—metaphysically holding hands—we construct lines of language, thought, and architecture. This, it strikes me, is the essence of creativity: to be offered the encouragement of human communion, which, in turn emboldens us to look up.