Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Reading and Writing

It seems inevitable that this time of year brings with it an evaluation of the past year and a reminder of shortcomings that we would like to address.  It used to take someone asking,  “what’s your New Year’s Resolution?” before I started thinking about it, but now it happens organically.  Perhaps it is a natural state of introspection that arises after the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season winds down and our schedules and minds are at rest enough to contemplate the year that has passed.  Once the Christmas frenzy was over, books immediately came to my mind.

I read the Huffington Post bloggers on Christmas Eve and as a result have compiled quite a long list of reading material to start me off on the New Year.  Arianna was thoughtful enough to have her bloggers post exclusively on books they recommend, books they want and books they are giving for Christmas.  I have always been an avid reader.  I used to prefer non-fiction, but over the last ten years I have fallen in love with the novel.  I read the classics, the award winners and popular women’s fiction.  I often get books as gifts or just passed along to me by family and friends and eventually, I get around to reading all of them.  I have far too many books on my overcrowded bookcases and only a small section of them to chose from when I feel like curling up on the couch to read.  But with all of the writing I have been doing lately, my daily ritual of devouring literature has been reduced to an occasional activity.  The good news is, my section of unread books has grown exponentially.  

I’m still trying to figure out the correlation between reading and writing for me and I’m desperately searching for that ever-elusive perfect balance.  I read the news, blogs, commentary and various bits of humor each day, but I have not enjoyed a well-crafted novel since I started this blog, an oversight I must immediately correct.  I am a true believer in informed opinion, but my view of the world, of myself and of my personal relationships flow from the reflections I engage in after reading a good novel.

I am currently attempting my own work of fiction, and although it is at times a tedious endeavor, for the most part it is rewarding and is certainly shedding light on the person I think myself to be.  Not that I am a character in the story, but a part of who I am or who I aspire to be is a huge part of the process.  My weaknesses as a person are becoming apparent, but so too are my strengths.  Writing about other people is not nearly as revealing as creating them out of thin air.  What I write here in this blog reveals a lot about what I think, but not so much of who I am, or who I perceive myself to be.  It is the same experience I have when I read a novel and one that I need in order to grow.

So my New Year’s resolution this year is to get back to reading fiction.  I have been so absorbed by the politics of my immediate surroundings that I have forgotten to nourish my soul.  The totality of who I am cannot be realized through a myopic view, and the near obsessive focus on external things has tainted my natural state of optimism.  I need to be reminded daily that there is such a thing as a happy ending, good defeating evil and the good guy getting the girl.  This is what I have been missing and it is long past time for me to bring it back.  Recommendations anyone?


Anonymous Jonathan said...

I don’t know much about fiction. As a rule I read only non-fiction. But the exception is fiction with an edge. In the last year I have read three fiction books. Which is a lot for me. Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm”. No happy endings there. The other fiction book I read was “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis. Happy ending for the most part. This book was written very quickly (and you can sorta tell) in 1935 to warn the US that a fascist or totalitarian regime could happen in any democracy.

10:55 AM  

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