Friday, February 12, 2010

Lobbing scissors at my office-mate Katie a moment ago, the thought crossed my mind that I don't read as much as I once did. I remember as a kid, staying up for twelve hours straight to speed-read David Copperfield. Because I had been reading The Lord of the Rings for the twelfth time, in bed, on the bus, in homeroom, even on my lap, hidden under my desk in the very English class in which David Copperfield had been assigned.

Has my reading habit slowed because of two young children in my charge? Because of late nights up in my studio, because of this full time job? How has it been squeezed out of my routine over the past years?

Can you ever read enough?
Working at the registers in the Booksmith for a decade, countless customers have scrolled before me, most of them repeats, many of them self-described book "addicts." And I would have described myself the same way, years past...
but maybe I've read enough? For now?

I've always thought experiences are tools. I'm a self-taught painter, and I think of all of those brush strokes as leading to the next, across paintings, across the gaps between paintings, and when you make enough mistakes and successes, they eventually work themselves out until you have a tool. Something that you can pull out of the kit and use appropriately, without thought.

Maybe that's what reading is for me, an accumulation of ideas,
stories, advice, cautions, that have worked themselves out.
Maybe right now I am just making use of them,
maybe accumulating more wouldn't help.

Someday that appetite will return, and when it does there's a list of recommendations a week long that I'd love to dig into.
In the meantime, tell my kids to stay asleep at night.
Tell the store to give me a month or two off.
Tell my hand to put down the brushes.

Katie blocked the scissors with a plywood shield. I don't want you to worry, or to think that I lob scissors at just anybody.

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