We exist in narrative. Not that we would cease without it, but it is inherently human to craft, reform, manipulate, ponder and create our stories.

Sadly, the truth of our stories is not often told, either completely or in part. Even to ourselves.

Books offer an outlet to pour out these narratives; often contradictory, competing, courageous, striving, fantastic, or simple. They can inspire and speak truths that we somehow knew, but could not articulate.

Books provide camaraderie – a sense of belonging in a world where you felt “different than.”

Last week, a great friend took us to Codex, an exhibit of finely crafted art/books that explore the Mexican narrative. Hosted in the gorgeous Mexican Tourism building in DC, Codex probes the variety of interpretations of the Mexican story; from despair to anger to wonder to hope.

Honing in on national identity is a slippery endeavor, yet Codex spoke realistically in ways academic papers, journalism, or even oral history cannot.

Artists took “the book” as inspiration but in no way felt bound to a singular interpretation of the medium. Through use of reflection, graphic design, watercolor, metallurgy and leather work, they pressed the boundaries of form to fit their experience.

Codex reminded me of the best books I’ve read: they do not explain or solve everything, but push us to question further and remain open to constant interpretation.

The poem is your guide.


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