When I happen to pause my flâneur wanderings and step into a bookshop, a little wellspring of fancy overflows my emotions as I saunter towards the weekly newspaper editorials and subscription-hungry magazines. These shelves often reside in sunny corners, a space that only makes an alternate dimensional appearance at a wrinkle of the nose and a sidelong glance of the eyes (for those of us with spectacles, we rely on haunting images on the peripherals of our vision), and haphazardly organized into a tetris-alignment of every ingenuity under the sun.
(I vehemently dislike and raise a moral outcry that these magazines are often categorized by gender-norm-specific interest, no notion of colour alignment whatsoever, nor librarian’s love of alphabetical card catalog).
These are not authored hard-bound books, I remind myself, as I flip through a magazine’s shiny pages. These are omnibuses of literary sketches and fragments, I am listening to echoes and whispers of the magazines ghostly community of writers and marketing advertising professionals. Wasn’t it once mumbled in a lecture on English Literature that the author Charles Dickens first published his well-known stories in serial continuity for the birdseed newspapers? Didn’t poet Pope once mocked his literary rivals with the insinuation that their beloved published book were used for toilet paper because of their durability in outhouses?
I silently giggle to myself in the bookshops. I must really stop doing that. I already giggle at miscellaneous status updates and tweets while reading Twitter in public. Insecure people can’t help overhearing laughter nearby, always under the mis-assumption that you’re laughing at them. It happens. You can always spot one in the suburban jungle: flinching at overhearing joyous laughter of youth in the guise of adolescent girls.
These two monthly issues caught my eye the last time I stepped into a bookshop. I tell myself that I’ll turn around this corner again, going down this street on another wandering path, a future-navigate trail of mental breadcrumbs to follow before the ending of January. A renewable treasure map with an expiration date.