Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Love the Smell of Libraries.

I have so many books on my bookcase that I have never read.




Unread. Unabsorbed. Unloved. Unopened [since the 1st time I skimmed it pre-purchase].

Books. Knowledge. Stories. Opinions. That I've never had the time taken the time to read.

I consider myself fairly literate. Excelling at English throughout high school. Pursuing & attaining a degree in something [theatre/greek classics] that involved constant reading & viewing of the written word performed. Having a minor major meltdown post-college that involved me consuming copious amounts of books & plays I'd never read and even writing up mini-essays [for myself] as I felt my mind melting so quickly after the end of college, class & required contemplation.

The melt-down came to end [sort of] & with it so did the overwhelming need for me to read. I wish it hadn't. I now put 'READ' on my daily to-do lists. It is often left alone, uncrossed, waiting to be added to tomorrow's list.

When I begin a book & don't finish it I have moments where I think about the characters paused in the passage where I left them. Unable to move forward. Unable to go back. Left wondering why I would leave them. What they had done wrong. Would they ever get to finish the story they were meant to tell?


I am Ridden with Guilt. For fictional characters. For facts. For narratives. For books.

I am fairly literate. But I am not. A favorite activity of mine is wandering into bookstores. I walk the tables. NEW IN PAPERBACK. CLASSICS. MYSTERY. SUMMER MUST READS. ETC. I then stop & count the number of books I've read. If I'm with another person it becomes both a competition [because everything is] & a wonderful conversation starter [try it on a first or second date - you'll learn WONDERS about the person...]. I did this recently & found myself lacking. I would be the person on the date being judged for my lack of literacy. I was sad.

The Pee Wee Scouts would have been disappointed in me.


I had a hard time learning to read when I was a kid. I don't think I even liked it. But in 2nd Grade Mr. Anderson [my favorite teacher of all time] introduced me to THE PEE WEE SCOUTS. I read one and that was it. I read them all before 2nd grade was through. And from there I never stopped. Reading series after series, completing list after list of recommended reading. Graduating 5th grade with a 12th grade reading level. I had become an official reader. A bibliophile.


Unbent binding.  Crisp cut pages. New book smell on novels years old.

They wait patiently. The stories. The thoughts. The characters. The noted moments. More patiently than I with myself. Constantly pushing to be better. To be more literate because "it'll help my work". I think I'm realizing it's the wrong approach. To put that pressure on passion. On that which at such a young age, changed my life. I've ruined it by making it work.

I've begun to think that about a lot of things I've been doing lately. Trying to turn what I loved to do into what I'm paid to do.

It's taken me a beat to realize it but I'm finding if you're not careful it turns what you love to do into another thing on the to do list. That won't get done. That gets moved to tomorrow.

Unread. Unabsorbed. Unloved. Unopened.

That is not what I want my life to be.

Today. I read. For fun.

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