Once upon a time, I read with a gluttonous voracity unsatisfied by any tome no matter the depth or length. When one was done I laid it aside with my right hand while plucking the next with my left, paging through the library-musted pages with steady rhythm and nary a pause to savor the ideas, the worlds, revealed by the words.
I continued in this manner until I was told I could not not eat anymore. I fell into a cycle of eating and exercising, a barely healthy one, which took hours out of my life formerly reserved for slipping into stories and filtering fantasies through my mind. It is, after all difficult to read whilst running, or paddling, or dancing kata, or moving with the waves. But I did not miss the books: they fell away to actual living (will I always associate actual living with movement?) and I’ve never returned to them in earnest.
Not to say I have not read: my reading has been restricted to physics, philosophy, nonfiction, chemistry, allegory, theology, math, and some half-hearted attempts at fiction. My large undertakings (failed) were devoted to finishing The Road to Reality by Roger Penrose and Infinite Jest by the one and only DFW. In Japan I read Atlas Shrugged and thus formed my unforgiving credo if politics, life, and myself as I ought to be. Finally a brief dalliance with the arrested Song of Ice and Fire and I was back to square one for a long time: disenchanted, lost, and with nary a novel in which to find respite from my self-inflicted difficulties.
Yesterday, I finished a book which had little plot, no adventure, but intriguing character development. I think about my own narrative and find little plot, no adventure, and glacier-slow character development. And so I say enough of this bed rest and whining. Time to move, time to revel, time to live. I’ve plenty of examples of heros stocked up in my mind. Time to be my own.
Only then can I be the bean’s, if he’ll have me.
Yesterday, between naps, A painted the scene of us reading to bean. Books piled around, we’d act out picture books and voice Dr. Seuss in the silliest and serious-est registers. He’ll fall asleep to Tolkien and Lewis and we’ll do it all again the next day. What worlds he’ll discover, along with his own. He will live and he will thrive and he will love and be loved. And he will have the greatest the joy on Earth.