A Certain Slant of Light, book reviewing, bookshelf, buying books, Charles Bukowski, critiquing, excuses, Laura Whitcomb, literature, mental exhaustion, procrastinating, reading, Richard Adams, The Giver, The Hunger Games, Watership Down, writing
“…Baby, air and light and time and space have nothing to do with it and don’t create anything except maybe a longer life to find new excuses for.” – Charles Bukowski
No, that is not the entire poem of Air and Light and Time and Space. It’s not even my favorite part, it just fit this post the best. The amazing, so true it hurts poem can be found here: Read me, you will not regret it.
I don’t know how many times I’ve made excuses to myself on why I don’t have time to read, or write anything. Bukowski’s poem is a kick in the gut. Writing I have made more time for, or tried to – on my off days, lunch breaks, right before I go to bed, even though I’m not fond of doing that since I have this habit of not going to bed until the point of that mental exhaustion where I’m staring at the words on the screen and comprehending bullcrap about them. I haven’t given myself a set limit of words to write per day, but I know if I can’t get at least 300-500, I feel totally unproductive. Juggling that with what I do for Weaving Dreams and my full time job, it’s a bit of a challenge. So, naturally, I practically stopped reading.
Which is the silliest thing I could have done. I kept buying books that caught my eye or I’d heard good things about, and the bookshelf got more crowded, but none of those awesome stories and scrumptious words managed to get in my brain. I stood in front of my bookshelf a few days ago and realized there’s a good twenty-five books in there I haven’t even cracked open yet, and I was kind of horrified at myself. I call myself a reader? A writer? No, apparently I’m just a book hoarder. A writer absorbs new language and words, broadens her field of vision by delving in genres she may have never considered before were it not for an intriguing plot, or word of mouth, or characters that demanded a closer look even if such and such wasn’t normally her thing. He discovers new writing styles, thereby helping him shape his own, and learns new and inventive ways to weave a story by seeing it done and thinking, ‘I like this idea. But here’s what I would do with it.’ And all these amazing things happen in a writer’s mind because a writer reads.
I was so ashamed.
But no more! No longer will I wistfully stare at my bookshelf, or peruse Barnes and Noble or Amazon and think man, I’d love to read that book, and a stupid little voice in my head will shoot back ‘fool, you have HOW many books at home you still haven’t read? You do not get to buy anymore until you’ve slogged through that back list.’ I mean, the last books I read were the The Hunger Games trilogy and a reread of The Giver, and that was months ago. I do read to critique manuscripts, but as much as I enjoy doing that, it’s not the same when I have to cast such a critical eye over the words. I can’t get lost in it. Miskadoodle dear, how are you ever going to grow as a writer if you let your absorption of literature stagnate?
So I spent Saturday morning revisiting the rabbits of Watership Down. I forgot – how could I forget – the wonder of plunging into a whole other world for a few hours a day? I’m still reading the tale – honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever read the entire book through – and the story holds the same allure that it did for me when I was child as I read about Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, and the whole group’s adventures after leaving their warren. Dandelion is still my favorite. Ladies and gents, I have rediscovered my stress reliever. All I needed to do was take the time to read.
I’m going to work my way through every unread book on my shelves, starting with this pile, because there are far too many worlds I haven’t visited yet waiting for me. As soon as I finish Watership Down, I plan on finally finishing A Certain Slant of Light, by Laura Whitcomb. I’d like to review it, as well, so some reviews will eventually start popping up on here. Seriously, I’m half way through the thing and then it got put aside for reasons I can’t recall.
No more excuses. I will find the time to write, and read, and create. Why wouldn’t I? Nothing else in this world makes me happier. No, not even cake. Or the red velvet cupcake I ate earlier. I hope all of my fellow writers remember to do this, too. Carve out the time to write, and to read. Read what you love, write down your favorite words as you go (my current favorite: lolloping), look up words you don’t know, and then sit down and write for a spell. I sure am!