Dailyish blog writing went to weeklyish blog writing as I headed into fall: I took one last trip to Pennsylvania, mourned my boy Spot, finished teaching a summer course, and got two fall courses up and running.
With that initial busyness behind me, I am facing a fall with more free time than I have had for decades. Seriously, decades. And I want to make sure I am finding the balance of chilling out and stepping up. One thing I am doing is learning to relish my reading life again.
A long time ago, before you were born*, when I was still single, and life was great (it’s a song reference..google it), I used to get up on Saturday mornings, pour fresh-brewed coffee into the thermal pot, add it to a tray with mug, cream and something sweet to eat, and retire to bed for the morning with a book and a cuppa. These were my hours to read and sip and rest after a long week of work before whatever chores and activities the weekend held. Depending on the book and the weekend, morning might stretch into afternoon, and I would find myself sprawled on the sofa at sunset, probably with a glass of wine, mourning the end of yet another book. I know I had responsibilities but somehow they had not come to weigh on me. The *shoulds* had yet to take control. (As in, you should do laundry. You should clean the bathroom. You should call my your mother.)
Somewhere along the line, I lost that reading mojo, as a friend of mine on LibraryThing calls it. That ability to just sink into words, to lose track of everything except the book, to be able to ignore the voices, including your own, that suggest you should be doing something more productive than “just reading.” Was it some combination of graduate school, tl;dr social media syndrome, and life in general that made it a challenge for me to do more than a chapter or two of even the best book?
If you look at my statistics for the years, numbers wise, I read and listened to a lot of books. But, distraction definitely kept me from sinking into a book the way I once could, and I read in bits and pieces except over the summer when I escaped to the pool and floated and read, no devices allowed.
Lately, I have found myself working at getting that focus back. For instance, I take only the book or device from which I am reading to the porch or bedroom recliner, two of my reading retreats when the pool is closed for the season. As for choice of device, I am inclined to take the old school Kindle with me as it offers little in the way of entertainment. It is solely an e-reader, and sometimes a single use device isn’t a bad thing.
I have also disrupted my morning routine, because I have found that early mornings are still a favorite time to brew a latte and slip back in bed with a book. I do love reading at night with just the book light for illumination but, sadly, one of the perils of getting old is falling asleep easily and I wake with the impression of book and light on my cheek. Enjoy those late night reading binges while you can, my younger friends. Now, it takes quite a book to keep me up.
*Seriously, I know how old some of you are, and it was before you were born.