On reading and how to ease back into itSunday, July 10, 2016
It's not a big shock that reading is, in fact, my favorite form of entertainment. It's one of those little things you can do in life that simply makes the heart flutter and the mind sharp. It's the sophisticated type of treat akin to a newly opened red wine or a fresh lemon pasta on the tongue. I could never lie to you though - I do indulge in my fair share of HBO Now and Netflix, but there is something about the sound of weathered pages turning in time that arouses my ears. The photographs painted in my head when words are the brush seem like the ultimate relaxation. The idea of sitting on a blanket with iced tea under a tree and feeling the soft, summer wind while butterflies quiver in the air makes me nostalgic for summer reading programs when I was in school. In four words: I love to read. But sometimes, especially as a creative person, it is awfully hard to actually do it.
There are distractions. TV, blogging, photography, this thing called a job, meals to cook and rooms to clean. Husbands, brothers, and dogs to love. Walks to take and sunshine to enjoy. Sometimes, I find myself in quite a rut, my temples and chest aching for me to pick up a paperback but my elbows rusted - not quite wanting to make the grab.
Am I alone?
I know the answer is "no."
To remedy this rusting of my arms and brain cells, I do turn to a few things to slowly lubricate my reading joints back to good health and restore to my life the essential nutrient of literature.
Secondly, I pick up an old favorite. Again, this could be a short story, but typically I will grab something so painfully beautiful that I know I will not be able to toss it aside come dinner time. There are a variety of choices to be made, but my heart finds it easiest to turn to The Great Gatsby or The Ocean at the End of the Lane for prose to fill my soul, I find that upon completion, it will be easier to reach for other words by other authors and the reading hinges are well oiled once again.
Think of it like hearing an old favorite song fill your car radio and remembering how much you loved that band in olden days and how it tempts you to pick up the whole discography of an artist and similar artists. A single song can remove you from a music rut. Well, a single book can be a reliable re-entry gate to the park of reading.
Thirdly, I write something for myself. In fact, that is what I am doing now. It is possible that, at times, you cannot concentrate on an author's words simply because you have too many words of your own. When this happens, the best solution is to expel them onto a page or screen. Let them drip out of your fingers, then, feeling relieved of creative pressure, go make that lemon spaghetti and read your book.
The world goes round and round on this carousel of life. Be sure you get off at some point for some stillness this summer.
Do you ever get into reading ruts? How do you get back into the world of a page?