032821 human condition (toned)

Anyone who hasn’t succumbed to an addiction for the written word is missing one of the great pleasures of life. But like all addictions, this one can consume you.

It is possible to carry a love of words, and other people’s unique way of putting them together, to the extreme.

At my house, books are permanent fixtures — in bookcases, on tables and desks, in stacks on the floor and on the sofa, which bears my imprint.

You might call this “clutter.”

I prefer to think of it as treasure.

The written work is the only way we can get inside the minds of people who are no longer living, and it gives fascinating insight into the minds of those still alive.

When I happen on words whose juxtaposition excites me, I have a desire to keep those words around. I have been known to return a borrowed book and promptly drive to the bookstore to purchase my own copy.

People who read books and have no further use for them will never understand that, so I will not try to defend this idiosyncrasy.

Books take you out of time and connect you to people in other ages and other places. Books can make you pay attention to things you take for granted, make what you think you know to be strange to you, and give greater depth to your life.

Books are the bridge to unexplored worlds, a connection to a wider world, a never-ending world.

Books are perhaps the most powerful when they fail to confirm what you believe, when they leave you a bit perplexed or unsettled.

Books are small admission ticket to continued growth. There is much to learn from other people’s research, thoughts and imagination.

Polonius asked Hamlet: “What do you read, my lord?” Hamlet replied: “Words, words, words.”

And words, words, words will fascinate me forever.

— Hinojosa lives in Baton Rouge

Advocate readers may submit stories of about 500 words to The Human Condition at features@theadvocate.com or The Advocate, Living, 10705 Rieger Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. There is no payment, and stories will be edited. Authors should include their city of residence, and, if writing about yourself, a photo.