As a teen I spent a lot of time in the public library, especially after I started truanting. But I never felt I belonged there, any more than I belonged anywhere else. The library’s offer lay not in its sense of community but in its sense of being unoccupied. It was empty a lot of the time, especially during the day. No one bothered you. You were left alone to follow the shelves like disused railway lines. Leading towards what? Something to read, anyway. You heard very little. No one came near you much. It seemed like the calmest, least anxiety-ridden place to truant to. For an hour or so it could be your space. Of course, the books themselves became spaces. I think that was an error, to regard a book as having an interior, as being a world rather than a written thing. Somewhat later, around the age of thirty, by which time I had already written books of my own, I had to take time to extract myself from what had become an unexamined assumption.