I’m in a reading frenzy and need help–maybe those of you who’ve experienced it can offer me some valuable advice. Even when I meditate the reading committee attends. Maybe I can write myself out of it. I’m desperate, but do I need to get it under control?
Part of the problem was spending so many years working for the government bore squad. They all dressed in radiant falsities and proclaimed their pompous glory, exalted their smoke-filled transparency, and their lifeless vitality of processes and procedures all passed down by the ominous “Senior Management” and they were the lucky purveyors of their grandiose missives. And they do it all for a paycheck and a pension they’ll receive in 20 years.
Some of the “managers,” the self-proclaimed walkers on water, with all their smiles and bubbles, reminded me of the dementors from Harry Potter who took away people’s happy memories. Or maybe it was more Orwellian — from the famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, where the thought police ruled and if there was the slightest hint of originality, creativity or happiness, you were secretly watched (with a lot of help from the monitors they had everywhere) and they would catch you, take you to an infirmary, and torture and brainwash all traces of those happy notations. Pretty grim, but true. But this is the result of my reading frenzy (getting more dark in my writing). Word of advice: if you have a soul-sucking job, do whatever you can to get out of it.
Is my reading frenzy a real problem?
So even though I may spend hours reading now, I feel like I’ve been let out of prison. I got so used to the colorless environment where I worked that it was hard to get my creative juices flowing. At the end of the day, my mind was numb, but over the past year the blood has started to circulate again and I feel exhilarated. I can’t read enough, I can’t learn enough and I feel FREE!
But here in lies the problem with reading. I’ll read a book on writing and it will suggest other books I should read and I immediately put them on my never ending reading list. Fortunately, since I started using the Sacramento Public Library, my Amazon shopping cart is empty. But that almost makes things worse, since every time I see a new book, I can check it out at the library. Thank God I can only check out five Hoopla books per month. But, you can check out other online books without a limit, so I just keep getting in more trouble.
What is my goal?
What’s my goal I ask? It’s like I’ve been lost in the desert and just discovered water. Not just any water, but pure, blue, sparkling water that smells like freshly fallen rain. And it has the power to make you want to drink more and more. And every time you do you feel better, brighter, smarter, and enlightened.
But even though the supply is never ending, I feel like I’m in a race against time to read as much as I can. There are books, books everywhere — the library, Amazon, Half-Price Books, books in my Kindle and on my shelves. Why all this despair? And does this unquenchable thirst have to go away? To quote a line from Netflix’s Stranger Things, when Dustin goes to the library to get books on science or aliens or other worlds, the librarian tries to limit the number of books he takes out, so he tells her, as he grabs them and heads for the door: “I’m on a curiosity journey and I need my paddles.”
And then there was Joseph Campbell
And then there was Joseph Campbell, author of The Heroes Journey who helped George Lucas write Star Wars. Campbell was born in 1904. He studied science and math at Dartmouth and transferred to Columbia to study humanities, and spent two years abroad. He returned to Columbia to start his PH.D and wanted to study Sanskrit, modern art and medieval literature. However, his professors didn’t support him so he opted out of his PhD. But then he did something remarkable.
Two weeks after returning from abroad the stock market crashed and since he didn’t have a job, or a degree to work on, or anyone to report to, he set up a rigorous reading schedule where he read nine hours a day for five years. He was later offered a job at Sarah Lawrence College and taught and wrote for the next 38 years.
I think my reading frenzy has me on the right track
Okay, so I may be on to something here. If Joseph Campbell did it, then I can do it too. Maybe not nine hours a day, but three or four with two to three hours of writing. If I want to be an excellent writer, I have to read as much as I can. Thank you Joseph Campbell, for helping me with my despair over excessive reading, which as it turns out, is not a problem at all.
That’s all for this week. Get inspired by reading–you may even become as obsessed as I am.
Don’t forget to comment below or email me with all your stories on reading.