What Dad Taught Me (A Fathers Day Special)

14 Jun

From a child we would take regular trips to the library.

We would go to the big one in town.

Dad would tuck himself in the reference library. All hushed tones, photocopiers and Which Magazines and the comforting smell of paper and printing ink.

We would trail up the stairs and start scanning the shelves for anything of interest.

Whenever we had a question, Who? What? Where? Why? When? How? Dads answer would invariably be the same. “Go and look it up”

So we did.

Curiosity breeds curiosity, questions breed answers, and answers breed more questions.

Interested in art, at the age of about 12 I remember taking a book from the library on biblical art. I am not religious but I have some knowledge of the bible and so this book threw up questions.

Who was Judith? Why did she chop off that mans head? Why is this image featured when the story is not in the Bible. The same went for Susannah and the elders or Veronica and her veil.

Questions. Answers. More questions.

Allegorical art requires you to have a working knowledge of classical myths to understand it.

What is that swan doing to Leda and why?

Questions. Answers. More questions.

Books on holocausts, pogroms, revolutions, tyranny and despotism. How and why did they happen?  Who is this crazy fascist? What made this person like that?

The next thing you are back in the library.

Questions. Answers. More questions

Biographies give you periphery characters that you want to know more about. So back you go to find out.

Questions. Answers. More questions.

Most of this information can be googled. It is constantly just a click away. But if you want to go deeper, to know in more detail,  books are still for me the way to go.

I have Luddite (as well as geeky) tendencies.

However there is always a place for new technologies. The kindle was invaluable to some family members living abroad, meaning that rather than shipping hundreds of books they just had a small pad to pack away.

Pinterest is a wonderful tool for pinning tutorials and inspiration, facebook keeps us constantly communicating, twitter gets me networking and finding out what is going on, even YouTube has its uses. (I taught myself how to correctly say the reading for my brothers wedding using YouTube).

I buy books, new and second-hand. But there is something about a library. All the world seems to be under one roof. Life, death, stories, plays, atrocities, fashion, history, engineering, crafts, biographies and everything else in between. Plus it doesn’t cost a thing (bonus).

I love the smell and the feel of books. I love just sitting at a table poring over the pages, drinking in the pictures and eating up the words. Like a kind of nourishment for the soul.

I am not clever, or a scholar or a graduate in any way. But I am always curious. I always want answers and more questions. If it catches my interest, I want to try to understand.

This is what Dad taught me.

If you want to know the answer, go and look it up.

 

 

 

 

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