Secret letter to Bill Callahan

Dear Bill,

I just wanted to reach out and express my deepest condolences for the fact that you can no longer see yourself in the books you read these days. It must be a truly devastating experience to feel like you are no longer reflected in the literature that you consume.

I can’t see myself in the books I read these days
Used to be I saw myself on every single page
It was nice to know that my life had been lived before
But I can’t see myself in the books that I read anymore

Bill Callahan, from the song 35

But fear not, dear Bill, for I have a solution to your problem. It’s a solution so simple, yet so profound, that it’s a wonder you didn’t think of it yourself. Are you ready for it? Here it is: read poetry in the dark. Yes, you heard me correctly. By immersing yourself in the rich and evocative language of poetry, while simultaneously depriving yourself of the visual stimulation of light, you will find that you can once again connect with the written word in a deeply personal and meaningful way.

But why, you might ask, does this strange combination of poetry and darkness hold the key to reconnecting with literature? Well, let me explain. When we read in the light, our eyes are constantly darting across the page, taking in the words and letters in a linear fashion. This can be a very efficient way of consuming information, but it doesn’t allow for much room for reflection or introspection. By reading in the dark, however, you are forced to slow down and really think about each word and phrase, as you can only see a few at a time. This gives you the opportunity to truly engage with the text and make it your own.

Additionally, reading poetry in the dark allows you to tap into your emotions and imagination in a way that is simply not possible when reading in the light. Poetry is known for its use of figurative language and imagery, and by reading it in the dark, you are able to fully immerse yourself in these sensory experiences. The darkness creates a sense of mystery and intrigue, allowing you to get lost in the words and fully engage with the themes and ideas being presented.

So there you have it, Bill. If you want to reconnect with literature and find yourself reflected in the pages once again, all you need to do is grab a book of poetry and a flashlight (or a candle, if you’re feeling particularly moody) and find a cozy spot to curl up in the dark. Trust me, it will be a transformative experience that you won’t soon forget.

And here is my book: Poetry to Read in the Dark

Poetry to Read in the Dark (2022) (3218 downloads )

I challenge you to actually read it in the dark and see if this dissociative effect you describe in your wonderful song is still present.

If it truly is, then I am willing to apologize for wasting your time.
Let me know, in some way. You are intelligent enough to trace my mail.

Kind regards and thank you for your beautiful work.

Martijn Benders

Martijn Benders has published twenty-six books, eighteen of which are in Dutch. He has been named one of the greatest talents of his time by critics like Komrij and Gerbrandy. He has also written three philosophical works, one of which is in English about the Amanita Muscaria, the Fly Agaric. Publishing on the international stage of The Philosophical Salon, he has also gained international recognition as one of the most remarkable thinkers from the Netherlands.