“I like to read in the dark…”

5.2 / Readership

“I like to read in the dark…”

By Susan Gevirtz December 4, 2013

When night comes I want to keep reading without turning on the light. In the future eyes will have adapted and some will be able to read in the dark. I envy them. I like to sit in the dark with many people I don’t know. I can’t wait till the lights go out. People are sitting in the dark reading together. The tall letters of words that would come up to your knees stop in front of you wavering slightly. Then someone turns the big invisible lever and the letters slowly disappear, line by line, swallowed up by the black mail slot under the screen. Still photos appear and hover for a full three minutes. Sometimes a grid of four photos, then later, a refrain, the same four again rearranged differently on the grid. And the voices too, separate elements falling over into sense, then rearranging themselves into storytelling, someone alone singing, and back again, running water, many feet on asphalt following the contours of how and where. Being sure, as Fallaci shows, that some people are responsible for setting it in motion more than others. Together we imagine it has taken place. More text that looks like an aerial view of heads in a piazza appears. A piazza because there is a fountain in the middle. The fountain of a capital O. And it is footprints in a square left by soldiers learning their marching formations. It is now creases in the sheet when your cheek is pressed against—when you are just waking into the reverse world. Inside of commentary what happened still happens. More. Again. Of what is this a document?—can always be asked but amnesia is the usual resort. Forgetfulness is entertainment. Is there any other way to crawl inside a book? Between document and event, commentary and reaction, put me between pages and close the door. This is a lullaby to wake you up. Of course it’s the sleep of the visible secret that I want to see. The homecoming of the dead from the gulf war to the Dover Airforce Base in Delaware. Who has that footage?

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Oriana Fallaci, Interview With History, Thucydides, Herodotus, Salgado, Ondaatje, Zora Neale Hurston, Rhodessa Jones, Paul Rabinow, Vincent Crapanzano, Anna Devere Smith, Trinh Minh Ha, Michael Moore, Dorothy Richardson, Francis Ford Coppola, etc., etc.

Mary Ellen Bartley. Summer Nights Walking, 2010; photograph. Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York.

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