Read-such a simple word that has so many implications, connotations, emotions and goals. There should really be eighty unique words for it, like the Inuit have terms for types of snow. There are casual reads and forced reads, private reads, and those done for the appearance of privacy like on a crowded airplane, administered purposefully to avoid talking with the guy in the seat next to you. Where did the peaceful exploration of a new novel go with its fresh, inky smell and crisp virgin pages? “No time to read,” “Have to read,” these are the phrases going through my mind now. I long for the time when the hubbub of the day was merely interference to settling down with that novel that my sister just sent in the mail. But chaos runs its course and I know another novel will find its way to me. Maybe simply out of exhaustion I’ll put down the tools of the job of daily living and pluck one of the many mysteries from high upon my plant shelf, plump a pillow and be absorbed by a new place, another time, and an exhilarating adventure that I just would not otherwise have time for.
Growing up, books were everywhere in my family’s house. Mom and Dad were always building or dragging in new book cases for the ever expanding library. Each holiday, birthday, and any day for that matter, books were customary gifts for us. Even the tooth fairy brought me a book once. It was Nothing Ever Happens on My Block. I still have it. I still have nearly every book ever given to me which explains the plant shelf overflow. There’s an entire novel assortment given to me that I’ve nearly made a dent in and books categorized by subject. My library is noticed immediately, but not always favorably by those entering my home. Several people have suggested I get rid of them, but with the exception of gifting one now and then, the collection remains. It has outlived two husbands (they’re still alive, just no longer my husbands) who just could not fathom why I would keep a set of encyclopedias published in the 1950’s. Either you get it or you don’t. I’m sure there’s still valid information in those resources that not only did my older siblings and I use to do school reports, but my own kids have used them as well. And why would I keep those novels given to me by a dear elderly friend? Alright, some books are kept for sentimental reasons, but I swear I will get around to reading them someday.
There is a beautiful consumption that swells over me when I’m immersed in a new book. Almost obsessively I cannot wait to return to it again, and it’s such a rewarding moment when reading that last page. That is true of the good ones, anyway. For those that border on lame the compulsion is an optimism that it will get better, so I finish those too, generally. But that lovely, faraway place between the pages might as well be in someone else’s house when life gets just too darn busy.
Why isn’t reading a priority? It certainly should be. It calms the body and sharpens the mind, an anecdote to the stressors and pressures of all those other things like working and raising children. The read does take a back seat to the looming responsibilities. I think if there is indeed a literary crisis today that it is an issue of time management, not so much empathy for the practice. Understandable too is the interference of stimuli such as electronics. If I am not currently absorbed in one tale or another I’m more likely to turn on the television or play a game of Texas HoldEm on the computer to end the day. That is really a little surprising to realize given that just a few months ago those lonely novels were my sleep aid of choice.
It was a passion for a while of which I give the credit to a childhood friend who had just published her first novel. I couldn’t attend the debut and book-signing, so I sent my sister from
Come to think of it, there must be plenty of dust up there. Note to self- buy a new ladder and start reading again; the dust can wait.
The perk that unemployment has awarded me is the freedom to return to school, thus the forced read comes into play. I was awaiting my
Already this LAS class has been good for me. It has reminded me of a constant throughout my life-books. I can picture the day Mrs. Heinz took our first grade class to the
I’ve always admired those who take, or make as it were, the time to sit down with a good book. It’s a pleasant past time for sure, but there is also a certain beauty in coming across someone reading; they appear serene. I imagine others notice the peace in such a view. When my daughter was learning to read, and struggling with her fluency and expression, I heard her talking one afternoon on the back porch. As I came closer to the door, I noticed that she was not only seated beside the littler boy from next door, but that she was reading to him. Her words flowed like music. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. I crept away and snatched up my camera to capture the glorious event on video.
She, like her mother, wrote her name completely backward for the longest time. My mother used to marvel at the way my writing was in a complete mirror image of how it should be. While teaching Gracie, I often thought if Mother wondered if my dyslexic ways would carry on or subside. Eventually and gradually letters face in the right direction, and someday the little girl will be sharing the wonders of a book with another child, maybe her own. For now, she’ll keep mixing her d’s with b’s and p’s with q’s just as I did, but before she knows it she’ll be engaged in a forced read for a college class, eating a butter and lettuce sandwich.