Saturday, August 18, 2018


Isaac Asimov had claustrophilia. No, I didn't spell that incorrectly. He did not have claustrophobia, a fear of enclosed spaces but claustrophilia, a love of enclosed spaces. 

Many avid readers suffer ... urm ... enjoy the same condition, including me. A popular feature on many book Facebook pages or websites is that of reading nooks. These are usually places about the size of a single width bed surrounded by books. The bed or couch area is covered in cushy comforters or pillows--a lush surrounding, a place to burrow in to feed our addiction to books. 

Why do so many of us who are readers feel this pull toward enclosed spaces? Could it have something to do with our personality? Perhaps avid readers tend to be more introverted and wish to escape the noise of the world.

Remember that Jane Eyre would hide in the window seat behind the thick curtain to read? Ever since I read of Jane Eyre, I've wanted just such a place to hide away.

This reading nook, from Pinterest, is perfect.

Is claustrophilia  and the desire to be surrounded by books perhaps a desire to retreat into the womb where all was warm and safe? Where we were once comforted by the steady beat of our mother's heartbeat? And where we are now comforted by the steady rhythm of the flow of words through us?

Asimov enjoyed confined spaces and liked to work in windowless rooms. Here are his words: When I sit down at the typewriter, I write. Someone once asked me if I had a fixed routine before I start, like setting up exercises, sharpening pencils, or having a drink of orange juice. I said, "No, the only thing I do before I start writing is to make sure that I'm close enough to the typewriter to reach the keys."

I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die.

If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster.
Nothing interferes with my concentration. 

A cozy space, a cup of coffee, and a book, either one we are reading or one we are writing ... is there anything better for us claustrophilia sufferers? Pull the curtains shut on your way out!

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts.