Still am, and always will be.

A couple of years ago I set myself a goal to read 100 Great Books in one year.

I was trying to create a sense of structure and purpose in my life.

I still am, and always will be no doubt.

I have always read–I am never far from a book, tall towers of them in fact–but a predetermined list of one hundred ‘important’ books imbued my preferred pastime with a sense of focus and seriousness….that lasted all of fifteen minutes.

I read Pride and Prejudice and The Remains of the Day, Salman Rushdie and Milan Kundera, Gertrude Stein and Murakami. I read Samuel Beckett and it was divine. And then I stopped. Not reading, no nothing like that, but I stopped referring to my list when choosing my next read. And I stopped – indeed I had hardly begun – writing about what I was reading, here, in this place.

I strayed, as I am wont to do, from my self-appointed path.

Other words–marvellous words–have come my way and I have picked them up and gobbled them down. It’s been wonderful. I am full and fat. And yet. I have begun to feel unfocussed again, distracted, in need of some sense of purpose and focus. Hungry. I do not know the whys and wherefores of my vacillations. It seems I am what they call a “weirdo”.

The point of this blog – at least, what I declared to be the point – was to examine the relationship between reading and writing. First We Read, Then We Write, said Emerson. I can see now that it might not be in my nature to adhere to lists and arbitrary directives. I am happy to have returned to whim and serendipity, to that which calls to me in the moment. But it is still my most solemn wish to become a better writer and I believe that that largely entails becoming a better reader.

I suppose, this is a very longwinded way of saying that it is my desire and intention to return to the original spirit of this blog.

I want my reading to be stimulating, rigorous, critical and interrogative. I want to learn from it. I want to understand how stories and sentences and paragraphs work. I want to grasp the mechanics of the form. I want to see how they got the rabbit into the hat and how they spin the silk scarves from the palms of their hands.

I have no idea how interesting this might be for anybody else. There are all kinds of informative and more substantial resources out there. All I know is that I need some sort of impetus and this little blog has been a productive enough motivating force in the past. It feels good to press Publish, maybe that’s it… I hope there will be something of value here for someone besides myself. We’ll see…

In any case, like yesterday’s post, this post is mostly a bridge to get me from a couple of months of silence and on to the next place. How interesting that I can’t seem to launch directly into what I want to do. I guess I am somebody who is compelled to make declarative statements and verbalize my wishes and intentions. I need to learn how to just ‘do’.

Next post, I promise!

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3 thoughts on “Still am, and always will be.

  1. Dear Deborah, Even when you are just introducing us to people whom you think are important, without commenting much, you do perform an important literary service. I can still remember reading your post on Carol Ann Duffy in which you printed her poem “Prayer,” and how profoundly moved I was by her poem. I promptly sent the poem to others, people whom I felt were in need of hearing it. So, you just do whatever you feel you need to do and follow your star–I at least will continue reading.

  2. Tim O’Brien said to always stay true to the first impulse that brought you to the page (or blog, as it may be.) A theme that came up at a recent writer’s conference I attended was, Regularity. Just keep at it.

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