I'm homesick for reading.
Usually I have a book glued to my hand 99% of the time. Always reading. As a kid, I mastered the art of pinning an open novel under my chin, so I could read while I made up the bed, read while "cleaning" my room, read while pulling on my pants in the morning.
But lately, it's been hard to get around to reading. And I miss it. I can tell, because I catch myself staring at my bookshelves. I'm daydreaming about rainy days: a sure sign that I need 1) a cup of tea, and 2) a stack of murder mysteries. Or poems. Or YA fiction. Or essays about cooking.
One of my reading heroes is a woman named Mary. I met her at the gym, years ago: we were in the same early morning workout class. One morning she announced that she had run all her errands the day before, she sent her dog away for the day, and she had completely cleared her schedule.
"So I can read!" she said. "I got everything else out of the way: I'm having a reading holiday."
I stared at her. This woman has discovered the secret of life. A reading holiday.
And that's what I need right now. I'm pretty sure Mary would back me up on this. I could clear my schedule for a day, special order some rain, and settle in. Because I am parched for words.
I love the butt-kicking ultimatum in this quote: "You will not amount to much as a writer." Yipe!
I forget, most of the time, that reading isn't just something I love to do: It's something I absolutely must do. Cooks need to eat, musicians need to listen, writers need to read. It's that whole input/output thing, right?
So that settles it. George Garrett and Mary have both given me permission: Time to clear some space in my life, and indulge in this most-necessary part of the work I do. To make some space for the frivolous book, as well as the wise one.
Unless you love to read and unless you read as much as you are able to, frivolously as well as wisely and well, you will not amount to much as a writer. -- George Garrett, from his essay in this book.