Is a bookshop or library. The bookshop shown in this picture is Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland, one of my favourite bookshops in the world, alongside Shakespeare and Company in Paris. Check on their links, above, but come back to me here.
Bookshops and libraries are my safe place. Why? Because within them is an ocean of knowledge, the lives of people past and worlds upon worlds to discover. They are quiet, serene places where no one is showing off, no one human is vying for your attention, no one can take you away from the inner world of your mind.
I’m an anxious person – highly strung – anxious to consume knowledge. I am anti-social, an empath, although I love living in a city and meeting new people. Bookshops are my churches. They creak with the desire to fold you in their arms and hold you there, calm and at peace. It doesn’t matter what clothes you’re wearing, how you look or feel, how successful you are, how popular, how many people follow you on social media – none of that matters, a bookshop or a library doesn’t care. All it cares about is that you are there.
Edinburgh is alive with bookshops, these churches of the quiet, and my flat is bursting with books, enabling me to drift from one sacred space to another.
Here’s to sacred, safe spaces. What are yours?
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