Returning to a place (the state of reading enough books) and escaping from a time (this one), I’m now 77% of the way through Mary Anne Evans’ Middlemarch. Don’t you dare tell me how this story ends.

Middlemarch returns me to a physical place also: the basement of the Carnegie Public Library in my leafy hometown. A narrow yellow-floored corridor conducted us kids, amid deep librarian-enforced silence, far down the bottom of a gorge cragged by books. To Call of the Wild and David Copperfield. To Charlotte’s Web and Wild Animals I Have Known.

I always felt different leaving that place. Once licensed to tote my treasures up and out by the thin woman with the heavy ink-blackened stamp near the door, I climbed the three steps of the canyon of words emerging into the cold northern winter evening feeling other and larger.

I aim to feel that way again.

From Walla Walla, Washington, USA and currently living in Mexico City, Daniel Bailey is a semi-retired professor of English who’s spent half his life in Europe, Polynesia, Japan and Latin America. Narrative nonfiction, a short story, newspaper features and academic articles of his have appeared respectively in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin and the Bulletin of Language Science and Humanities, University of Technology, Nagaoka, Japan.

See more of Daniel's work in 8.3 and 8.2 and 8.2 again