Now picture a spiral staircase leading up to a dusty old attic lined with leather-bound books. In the corner, shrouded in shadow, sit several mysterious figures hunched over these yellowing tomes. Some are reading, their lips moving silently, while others are busily scratching new notations in the books. They are wearing cloaks and hoods like some kind of medieval monks or street thugs. Occasionally they mutter something indistinct - whether to one another, or to you, you are unable to discern - but in any case they take little notice of you and return to their work. Curious, you open one of the volumes, and it is unintelligible yet strangely alluring, like the Codex Seraphinianus or the Voynich Manuscript. Feeling eyes boring in on you from somewhere, you move to put the book back in its place on the shelf, but you can no longer find the place.
It is time to return to the normal world - the world downstairs, the world of the tidy little desk with its telephone and address book and date planner, all those proper little photographs of family members all in their proper places - so you head back towards the staircase. But now you can no longer find it. There is instead another shelf of books, and another one behind it. There are more hooded figures visible in the distance - some living, some dead - and you feel the growing realization that you have entered another dimension of time from which you will never return. As if under mystical compulsion, you pick up a writing instrument - which at first looks like an old quill pen, but on closer inspection proves to be an ordinary eraser-tipped pencil - and begin to write. All around you, the dusty, musty, moldering leather volumes await. You feel a chill, and draw your cloak tighter and pull the hood closer to your head. You realize, now, that there is much to write, yet there is no hurry; for time passes slowly in these parts. So you begin. Forever, you will be beginning.
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