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Out of the Rain

One night it rained. A night in March, and the rain fell, as winter’s grip relaxed. Out in the dark, dulled by the sound and the substance of the rain, a car door slammed, a vehicle drove off. Inside, in the warm living room of a cottage on the edge of a town somewhere to the North of Dundee, a grandfather clock with ponderous chimes struck ten. Across the room, in a pool of light under an old-fashioned standard lamp, Philip Learmonth sat in his leather armchair. He was reading The History of Reading by Alberto Manguel. You may think it odd that he waited until his retirement as a librarian to read about the history of reading, but he had until then been satisfied with the history of alphabets and of languages, which he had studied as a student. He had assumed the importance, the essence, was in the signs and the sounds, overlooking what now seemed obvious, that the fundamental fact about reading is the creation of meaning. It is not the words, but what we make of them.

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iScot Magazine
August 2018

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