Ladies, Gentlemen and Ogres in Disguise:
This post on reading feels like the first of many. As a human that longs to express myself in the deepest way possible via writing (and other forms…acting, filmmaking, music, etc.), I cannot imagine a life without reading. Sure, a quick tour of People magazine might offer some insight. The type of reading I suggest is one that challenges. One that might lose you for a page or two. One whose characters are so unlike you that you either wrinkle your nose in disgust or dive so deep into the book, it appears that you and the printed pages are conjoined twins. Doesn’t matter the genre. Could be a non-fiction book about a sweaty old genius who loves his ginger snap cookies but beats his kids. Could be a novel about a ginger snap cookie that teases kids with its sweetness, taking them away from their sad lonely widower father.
In the anthology Writers on Writing, Saul Bellow wrote a short essay, “Hidden Within Technology’s Empire, a Republic of Letters”. Here, Bellow discusses how technology has, in so many ways, taken over our reading time. Sure, we spend our time responding to texts (which, of course, must be read). Words though are being shortened. There’s the LOL’s, OMG’s and FML’s. Are these acronyms here because we’ve forgotten how to spell the words properly? Or is it that we live such a rushed life, no time for writing, must get to the next text? LOL.
In writing about technology and these new digital acronyms, I say there’s nothing wrong with any of this. As this piece is written, my cell phone sits a foot and a half away. Should it light up, my eyes gravitate toward it, taking my attention away from this. Please, though, I urge you to take just a simple thirty minutes a day to read something meaningful, something that challenges you. It could be read on the can, the subway, in a doctor’s waiting room. Your life, I guarantee, will be enriched.