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reading too much

February 14, 2014

I finally reached 1200 books read since 2010 (which I’m tracking via LibraryThing). Occasionally I consider ‘setting goals’ for reading 300 books this year, or 240, or somewhere in between, but I can’t muster any enthusiasm for actually having a goal – ugh – way to make something fun into a chore. Beyond that, I’ve realized reading as much as I do is partially a way to fill up oodles of time, while convincing myself I’m ‘improving’ myself.

How much ‘improving’ does a person ‘need’ to do?

Plus, even before 2010, I’d already read more books than anyone I know.

Therefore, reading books has likely been performing functions I haven’t consciously realized and/or have been hiding from myself. What might they be?

If they’re from the library system, I have a reason to get dressed and leave the apartment. On nice days, hiking up the hill behind the library eventually takes me to a park, where I’ve taken some lovely walks, often photographing the sights.

I secretly fear that if I stop reading so much . . . my brain will immediately stagnate.

Relatedly, my bodymind wants to be a lot more active, not just my brain. What if reading so much has actually stagnated bodymind? Surely an invigorated bodymind => an invigorated brain. Maybe brain is hoping to stay ascendant ‘over’ bodymind?

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Staying current in my fields of interest often gives me topics to discuss with Spouse, usually when we’re eating dinner out. (When we eat at home, we’re on different schedules, so we don’t talk.) Something livelier than asking him about his job.

Spouse is sometimes willing to discuss books either of us have read (he recently finished Moby Dick, which we talked about several times, despite my having never read it). His lack of interest in my creative process means we don’t discuss it, and if I talk about it anyway, he’s bored, which he doesn’t conceal from me. If I’m not reading as much, will Spouse find talking to me boring?

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I’ve known for a while that all the stuff I’ve been reading, while educational, is cluttering my brain with other people’s words and ideas.

  • In the first 43 days of 2013, I read 46 books. And wrote 1 poem.
  • In the first 43 days of 2014, I read 27 books — a decrease of 41% — but I wrote 13 poems. I have 5 more in-progress.

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Last month I discovered that, in the crawlspace of my mind, there’s an entire floor devoted to . . . things that want me to write about them. I think they’ve been trying to catch my (conscious) attention for several years; now that I’ve become aware of them, they’re not going to be patient with my reluctance to engage.

I’ve been dreaming about the Southwest again. And a few nights ago, as I lay in a ditch (in a dream) a tornado passed repeatedly over my head.

+++

I’m currently working on the application for a writer’s residency in 2015. I’m hoping to submit it in early March, ahead of the deadline.

I have a bunch of library books through Inter-Library Loan that I really do need to read.

But I think I will stop reading books as of March 1. I need to explore how long ‘detoxing’ takes. And I need to discover what creative impulses I can implement with the time freed up.

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