The Slow Progression

When I was growing up, I read books like it was no one’s business. I would purchase books on a Saturday and have finished all of them by Sunday night. It was a glorious time. I was full of ideas and the world was endless when it came to reading material.
I didn’t discriminate on whether or not I thought the writing was good but based on the story. If I liked the story, then that was it.
I collected a lot of books over the years. I could typically pare down the amount that I had, but in recent years, I have filled up my bookshelves with the best of the best that I have read. There are some books on my shelf that don’t make a ton of sense like the Twilight series. But there are classics. I have Pride and Prejudice, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and so much more. These books might not always be the best, but they mean something to me.
But my college days changed how I approached books. As an English major, most of my collection was now my curriculum. I was reading constantly, but not because I loved the books. I did find books that I loved, but it wasn’t me that was doing the searching.
I was reading less and less. I was writing less and less. This was all happening while I was reading and writing more than ever. College does this to a lot of people. I am not an isolated incident when it comes to reading and college. Friends and family have both said that the reading leaves when you’re in college.
“There are more important things.”
But that isn’t true.
Reading has always been a way to learn. I pick up books on stories and subjects that I want to understand. I have read books that discuss philosophical concepts just because it sounds cool. I find myself wanting to know more about the world.
But I’m not searching for those new books that push the boundaries of what I know. I’m not expanding my mind and really looking for new stories to write.
I’m reading kind of trashy books on my phone because they fill the time. They’re not good quality and I’ve found errors in a couple of them. So why am I bothering to take the time to read them? They’re readily available and they’re cheap. They’re a lesson in what not to do. Some of them have good stories and good ideas.
They keep me reading and thinking, but they’re not good. I try to revisit the classics and reread things like Greek epic poems, but it doesn’t always fill the kind of literary void.
It’s a product of the fact that I’m spending a lot of time working and I don’t have the mental capacity at the end of the day to really work through some of the concepts in books that I want to read. I have to find something more bite-sized to fit into what mental space I have left.
I’m sure that one day I’ll be able to read for hours again, but that day isn’t today. That doesn’t mean that I should let it get to me. I need to keep aiming for the day that I can read all of those books and write all of the stories. Working hard and making sure to write when I can will move me towards that future.


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