I’ve been reading.
This might seem like a strange statement. It seems strange to me. I was the child (and the adult) who would carry on reading if the house was on fire.
When I undertook, in 2010, a Masters in Art Practice and Education, I decided that I had to put on hold that sort of reading because I had a different sort of reading to do. So for two years I read art and philosophy, badly, grudgingly, and with only the end-result essay in mind as I read. I lost all the pleasure of it. I wasn’t getting engrossed, I was merely scanning for something I could use. Occasionally I would come across something that held me, but not often. And when I did, it seemed to be the “wrong sort” of reading. So, after all that, I gave up. I got the MA but never regained that sense of joy in reading. I feel bereaved really. Here I am 11 years later and I still haven’t got it back… but I can see glimmers of hope.
I seem to be able to read non-fiction, of the episodic, biographical type. I’ve read a Sandi Toksvig book, and I’m coming to the end of Caitlin Moran’s More Than A Woman. I know. Hardly taxing, but it’s like stretching muscles that haven’t been used.
I’ve also read little bits of poetry, and I’ve read song lyrics as if poetry.
I’ve tried fiction. People have suggested the “un-put-down-able” to me, and after a chapter and a half at best, I have indeed, put them down. I can’t be bothered. This really saddens me, because I do remember the feeling of total immersion. Maybe I’m getting there slowly.
I also wonder if my eyes are part of the problem too. I am on my second set of varifocals and I don’t have the field of vision required for prolonged reading I don’t think. Even with these really expensive ones. Or maybe I’ve worn out my eyes with drawing and they need a break?
Audio books perhaps?
Anyway… there is good news… I bought “Drawing Water” by Tania Kovats (I don’t seem to have given up buying books it seems!) and it has been a revelation. If anyone knows Tania, thank her from me. I am able to open this book at random, sink into the words, for a few pages at a time, and come up for air feeling refreshed and inspired. Since the book arrived I have written about ten song lyrics inspired by its pages. “Some Of My Favourite Lines Do Not Exist” kept me going for days. And even when I read other pages, I often skip back to those.
So, in hope, I have this pile by my studio table. I’m just about to have a big Tidy-Up in order that they are more accessible. You’ll notice most of them have bits of ribbon/paper/post its as markers of where I’ve got to, or points of interest, but maybe only two of them are “finished”.