So, this one time I decided to make a book with a tree sprouting out of it. It was pretty cool looking, but also I think I felt inspired to make it because I was a big reader growing up (you know, when you identify as a "Book Lover" with capital letters.) However, as an adult, I've gained mental and physical disabilities that now make reading challenging and so I started to get my stories and adventures from places like TV. I thought it would interest me to make a piece that suggested there's more than one way to experience a story and that visual storytelling has its own value.
However, in my experience going from a frequent- to a non/rare-reader, I started to notice some hints of disdain from fellow "Book Lovers" who would sometimes sneer at the idea of my watching TV (or, blasphemously watching the screen versions of books) instead of reading them. Often, people would assume things about my character or intelligence if I said I didn't read books, without understanding why I didn't read anymore. Even when I do read, it's often with audio book or a lightweight e-reader that's easy to hold, but even that doesn't escape the ire of some. It seems that, for some people, the fact that words come in a physical book matter-- the smell, the nostalgia, or just the experience of reading a traditional book is, to some, somehow 'better' than getting words audibly or digitally, even when the words are the same across all platforms.
Interestingly, when I make these books, I find people who love books are often attracted to them-- but the irony is that, by making the book like this, it's rendered no longer readable. I take away the words that make it a story and now it's just a thing. So, by augmenting a book, am I disrespecting the story a book exists to contain, or venerating a book as a beautiful object that has value irrespective of its words? Are books their words or their structure? Who does that answer matter to and is it important to know the answer?
All that aside, this is a commission that's similar-ish in theme to a book that I sold at a gallery. The commissioner saw the book I made there and wanted to buy it, but it wasn't available anymore and asked me to make one for them that was thematically similar. I'm not sure what the people who see my books think or why they like them. I doubt that they look at them and guess that, for me, they're an exploration of disability and intellectual elitism. Maybe they just think they look cool, and that's fine with me. I don't need people to feel about them the way I feel about them. But something I would think is great is, no matter what people decide to feel like these books remind them of, they could take away from viewing my work and my motivation for it that we never know why someone does, or does not do, things and we should remember to hold judgments and accept that everyone goes about things differently. Our differences make us more valuable to one another, not less.