(or: a metaphor for my point of view on E2)
It's a beautiful Monday morning when you find the book.
The sun is shining, you're in your new boots, picked up for a steal and laced with the strings of the old pair, which were left hanging over a high tension wire somewhere in the old barrio where they're busy pulling down crumbling old Victorian houses in order to make condos alongside the canal. Somewhere, birds are singing, bells are ringing, and the entire city feels like it's full of potential.
Bound with old but well-loved leather, it's the kind of thing you always wanted on your bookshelf, sandwiched between the manual on CSS and the box of Netra memory. It's been left on the bench, and you think perhaps someone owns it, but the hobos playing chess tell you the old owner set it down and left it a few hours ago and hasn't been back.
It goes in your pack, and later, in the kind of archetypal coffee shop that fits with the glorious perfection of a storybook day, you open it up. The book, thick, unwieldy, beautifully stained yellow with age, is filled with stories and letters.
Some of them are from faraway lands, some of them are technical notes; still others are crappy poetry. You flick over those quickly, finding personal stories, recipes, a thousand other things. Thoughts from a decade gone by and then some filter through your fingers, spilling across the paper in scrawling, changing handwriting. And as you keep working through the tome, you find letters shoved into the binding, some newer, some older than the works they rest alongside.
A few say: -1. Another will say +1. Beside them are messages from one author to another: insults, advice, corrections in red ink. Finally, you reach the end. Shoved under the library bookplate glued into the back cover, you find a business card for this very coffee shop.
When you close the book and look up, the coffee shop is filled with people, and every one of them has the same beautifully loved book. Some have put stickers on theirs; others have repaired the tome, and carry it in briefcases so as not to damage it. Still others are stitching up the binding. A few, now and then, toss their copy aside and stalk out, shrieking. Murmured conversation and stories in your book mention the wild parties of days gone by, the masterpieces already written, the beautiful books manufactured in this decade that make your tome obsolete.
Eventually, you find a few blank pages in amongst the yellowed sheafs and editor's notes. Eventually, you work up the courage to scrawl out a few words of your own in the massive tome. Soon, letters spring up beside your stories, your poetry, your facts, the soup recipe your mother left you in her will. Soon, you notice new pages.
Soon, you begin to write.