He has an undue respect for books. He never marks them up, or reads while eating for fear of soiling them. He respects and pays allegiance to all he reads. I tear to shreds the pages in his presence. Mount the most convincing arguments why this or that book should not be read, why my markings in the margins, my underlining, checks, asterisks, why whole paragraphs I’ve xed out are superior to the printed page that he keeps virgin and unthumbed. I tell him nothing will grow in the forest of books you have, the three books you read a week. You’ve got to take your pen to them, scarify them, tear, shred the pages. Your mind should be like a lumber mill. It should spin with the sharp weight of gears, sprockets with the teeth of thought meant to sever and section trees, that’s how you should handle pages, as if every book you read were walking the plank.
Richard Krause lives in Kentucky where he teaches at Somerset Community College. His stories have recently appeared in J Journal, The Alembic and The Long Story. His epigrams have appeared in Hotel Amerika and Fraglit, and have been translated into Italian in an online review called Aforisticamente. His story collection, Studies in Insignificance, was published by Livingston Press in 2003.