Friday, September 19, 2014

What!? You Don't Read!

I know I promised a Bucket Happiness List, but this post snuck up on me. Next blog I promise, I will share my credo for happiness.

I'm an avid reader of blogs and online articles. Recently I have been reading blogs more than all my other books. I am addicted to the internet. I barely watch 2 hours of television a week (though I do love movies on the big screen). However tonight I've read 2 blogs...multiple posts in between all of my other work. 

Many people have been telling me of late that they don't read. Who doesn't read right? But funny I understand. Books are like a new love. Starts out hot and sweaty, then sooner or later fizzles for some arbitrary reason or another... 

The time. The devotion. The energy. Sometimes it's hard to keep focused..."to block out the internal and external noise." 

An entire book is a commitment (to me), especially since I've read about 4 dozen fiction books while reading for my literature degree at university. 

I just reminded myself of this after a conversation with my sister the other night. West Indian. British. American. African. African American Literature. Poetry. Drama. 

I remember my final year I had to cram 23 books into one semester or less. Plus reading for my Communication minor and all my other electives!

After that ordeal, I thought I was all read out. But you know what? I am better for it.

To excel at this was a milestone for me, especially since I never took Literature at CXC Ordinary Level or GCE Advanced Level. (I stuck to business subjects and the closest science for me which was geography which I loved.)

Out of all the books I read, what stood out in my mind ironically was Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (antiquated sop--for some strange reason stuck), Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (my friend and I had a few good jokes about that two-man play), Pantomine (a play I loved, but for the life of me can't remember who wrote it), Oedipus Rex (where I got my first taste of Greek mythology and learnt my favourite expression: catharsis and the famous Oedipus and Electra complex/penis envy etc). 

I loved the African plays and poetry filled with such rich culture, customs and history - Death of the King's Horseman by Wole Soyinka was my favourite....Jane and Louisa Will Soon Come Home by Jamaica's Erna Brodber....The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway (I remember one rainy morning our tutorial class analyzed this narrative to death till there was no more)....Beloved by Toni Morrison and The Colour Purple by Alice Walker....for coloured girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange (strange title, but interestingly unique collection).

In my teens and early 20s, I was a bit bookish too. I remember going to the library often during the period after graduating from secondary school and waiting on call backs from job interviews (needed something constructive to pass the time).

Those were the days.

The books that stood out to me were Pearl by Tabitha King, Remember along with several other books by Barbara Taylor Bradford (she was my fav author around that time). She wrote of journalism, romance and espionage in dreamy locations. Of course who could forget the classic: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Oh and Jonathan Livingston Seagull - the story of a gull destined to be different, by Richard Bach. The simplicity.

Ahh yes…those were the days of blissfully long days and nights of just me lost in the land of make believe stories and words. Page after page. Chapter after chapter. Book after book. No spoken words. I did not have time for that. Now I have enough of my real life tales to provide fodder for my own work. If you only knew! 

I need to get back to that place where life was less complicated and simple.

More recently I've read The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson which I blogged about last year. Lent to me by a work colleague in Tobago, this book literally changed my life and gave me new direction for departing from the ordinary, following my dreams full time and starting my business. 

Mandy Hale is also a good inspirational, funny and personable author.

There's so much more. But I'm making a mental note to keep this post short (I don't think I succeeded).

Have all these readings influenced my writing in some way? Can't tell. I think I have my own style. But for now, I will continue reading. There are many half way read books on my kindle and those still unpacked from my stint on the sister isle. (Who knew I would have such little time for reading?!)

Among them are: Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey, Woman Thou Art Loosed (T.D. Jakes), a few West Indian authors' books I picked up at the bookstore right before I left. 

There’s also my most recent favourite reading by a Canadian author I fancy: Susan Olding's Pathologies: A Life in Essays. I can relate on many levels to her work. Was attracted to it for some reason at a quaint bookstore years ago and never read it until now, but now suddenly fascinated by the style and format. (Just goes to show, a book doesn't always have to have a plethora of reviews to be revered as 'good' or 'great' for that matter.)

Somehow when I'm reading, I am compelled to break away and just write, but I must rekindle my love-affair with books. So I'm told if I am to be a 'good' writer/author.

I applaud my friends and all those persons with full time jobs, kids, side-jobs, books/blogs/columns of their own to write, houses to run and clean and still find time to read multiple books.

One day I will be at that place again...

For now, I am multi-tasking to complete all of these great books by the end of 2014, so that I can get a new batch for next year. Wish me luck.

What are you reading/what's on your bucket reading list?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment