"We are all one question, and the best answer seems to be love - a connection between things. This arcane bit of knowledge is respoken every day into the ears of readers of great books, and also appears to perpetually slip under a carpet, utterly forgotten. In one sense, reading is a great waste of time. In another sense, it is a great extension of time, a way for one person to live a thousand and one lives in a single life span, to watch the great impersonal universe at work again and again, to watch the great personal psyche spar with it, to suffer affliction and weakness and injury, to die and watch those you love die, until the very dizziness of it all becomes a source of compassion for ourselves, and for the language which we alone created, without which the letter that slipped under the door could never have been written, or, once in a thousand lives - is that too much to ask? - retrieved, and read. Did I mention supreme joy? That is why I read: I want everything to be okay. That's why I read when I was a lonely kid and that's why I read now that I'm a scared adult. It's a sincere desire, but a sincere desire always complicates things - the universe has a peculiar reaction to our sincere desires. Still, I believe the planet on the table, even when wounded and imperfect, fragmented and deprived is worthy of being called whole. Our minds and the universe - what else is there? ... In our marginal existence, what else is there but this voice within us, this great weirdness we are always leaning forward to listen to?"
- from "Someone Reading a Book," in MADNESS, RACK AND HONEY, by Mary Ruefle