My friends do it.
Hell, they publish lists of books they suggest. Dana’s periodic review list inspired this post, although I know Julia and Letizia (and probably others whose names end with na or ia) write about the books they’ve read.
They rip through them like I rip through pizza.
You know what? I don’t read. I mean books. I read tons of words, every day. On your blogs. On social media. Sometimes, even for work. On Saturday, I even learned that there are interesting things to read on the back of wine bottles at Food Lion.)
It’s just, the book stuff, you know?
I haven’t used a bookmark in at least as long as I haven’t used Axe body spray. There are bookmarks in my life. I used to slip them into Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid and coaching books when I was coaching kids.
So much reading, writing
There’s also a limited number of hours in a day.
Even more limited at night, such as 1:35 a.m., after work reading and catch-up-on-the-NFL reading and inbox reading and a few of your Facebook IM readings. I’m just 171 words into a post that could have as easily been about #TheStruggleIsReal.
Reading maybe stands for something else here.
It’s 2:12 a.m. I’m lying on the floor. I’ve pounded through SEO pages and interviewed Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. I looked around the locker room for Roddy White and Devonta Freeman. (dude! You’re on my fantasy team!) since I woke up.
I’ve fallen asleep 17 times writing this post.
I’ve read and responded to important emails. Way important. Words have skipped around in my head all day. I picture them in a tornado twirl, or maybe that’s a toilet bowl twirl? It’s hard to tell.
The same way I failed to take all my meds or import my contacts to my new (and Madison’s old) phone, the words that swirled didn’t come from books today. Tomorrow isn’t looking too promising, either.
So much reading
I try to pinpoint reasons I can’t shove an actual paper book into my backpack that I wear in this vagabond existence I find myself in.
A man without a home doesn’t need an address to turn the pages of a compelling book, does he? But what if his to-do list includes writing, some there so long the lichen has attached to it?
What if his inbox were a plant, it’d have shriveled and died?
Or if those emails were goldfish, they’d be floating at the top by now? Because there’s always reading to do, in the inbox, in the workload, in the blog world. Does it count? Even the stuff I want to get to, but can’t?
Because there’s also other reading that has nothing to do with words on a page.
Reading people, for instance. Or signs. Or even yourself. Now that I’ve revealed glimpses of my scattered Scrabble pieces of a thought process, maybe it’s time to choose photos and put this to bed. And myself.
It’s tough when words fail if they’re your tool of choice.
Reading, then, becomes integral
It also enlightens me, words’ failure. You set words aside and hope actions and circumstance can dictate your next steps, rather than words, which have always, always worked for you.
So when I wake up in a couple of hours to again face the stack of words and reading that might be expressed or might not be read, maybe I’ll pick a book off the shelf and drop it in my survivalist backpack, and when I do stop to eat tomorrow …
Maybe I should turn a page and set a bookmark and move forward.
And even if I don’t turn a page and set a bookmark and move forward, I’ll read enough today. Words and feelings and circumstance. They’re what compose my life, and dictate my path, even if I can’t see it. There’s an innate treachery in reading.
We’ll read a defense or get our readings from a glucose monitor.
Out of necessity. Often the defense is disguised or the monitor won’t give you a number, and then you must improvise. Improvisation has its own set of treacherous traits. We read into things. We fail to see the writing on the wall. Sometimes, all at once.
Thing is, though, we can’t help but read.
How to get to tomorrow’s words
My eyes that couldn’t stay open for writing are suddenly alert like it’s 4 p.m. Almost snack time. The readings continue. When words are hard, when words are easy; today we’ll arrange the words, and maybe there’ll be a synchronicity that makes it all make sense.
It’s reading. It’s all reading.
It’s essential, every day, on promising days and treacherous days because that’s what will lead you to tomorrow’s words. You just can’t easily write a review of this kind of reading, that’s all.