I’m finding myself getting more and more engrossed in the research of this life in writing. I can sit for hours-on-end reading writers’ blogs, researching writers’ organizations, and the writing process. In all this research, especially over the past two days, one thing that has stood out as I read through other writers’ blogs, is the necessity to read. A good writer, reads.
Okay, so the irony of my life: I DON’T READ! (Much that is) Despite the fact that the majority of my teaching career was spent as a reading teacher, I don’t read. Of course I CAN read people, and yes, reading blogs and researching also involves reading. Got it. But I’m referring to reading for the love of reading; for the sheer joy of it; escaping into a literary world just to getaway from it all, if only for a few minutes. I’m talking about just reading.
I would love to get lost in a good book for hours. But that ever-looming time factor is a sad reality. When I made the decision to stay home I had all these notions of things I would now have time to do. I would read more; spend more time with the kids; make these fabulous home-made dishes worthy of opening my own five-star restaurant; do lunch with the girls every week; and (get this) I would take a nap every day! Hmm . . . Allow me to digress for a moment.
My cousin is an auto-extraordinaire. He loves cars — always has. He’s built his career around automobiles. He knows cars inside and out. Though hundreds of miles stretch between us, I occasionally call him to diagnose a problem for me via phone. Sound crazy? Well, a few years back, while in my minivan phase (don’t ask), my van started jerking and sputtering while on the way to the eye doctor one day. My van was struggling to continue running even as it was in motion. This was particularly shocking because it was only a couple years old. I called my cousin immediately and he advised me to turn around and head straight home because the van was about to die on me. I had every excuse why that wasn’t feasible and ended the conversation with a “Thanks, but I have to get to my appointment. I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’ll go home right after this.” His response to me? “Let me know how that works out for you.” Knowing my cousin, I could picture the expression on his face as he made the comment. He was probably shaking his head, smirking, knowing that I’d be calling back within a few minutes. He may have even called me some form of a donkey in his head. Needless to say, I get to the eye doctor only to find that I erred in the scheduling of the appointment and didn’t actually have an appointment. I returned to my van, turned the key, and low-and-behold — the van was dead! I humbly called my cousin and without even saying hello, he answered, “Uhh-huh. So, you stuck huh?” I could hear the “donkey” tone in his voice as he suppressed his ‘I told-you-so’ laughter.
That being said, my stay-at-home expectations were totally unrealistic. Now that reality sunk in, the only response I could lend to myself for such dreams of a life at home is, ‘Let me know how that works out for you.’ Obviously, that is not the life of the stay-at-home mom living among the working class in the real world. A nap every day? Be serious. Spending more time with the kids was the only reasonable checkpoint on the list. But my home-cooked meals are mediocre at best; all of my girlfriends are at work (duh!); and reading? Who has time for that? Between seeing the kids off to school, putting the house back in order, laundry, errands and the honey-do list, there is no time to read. Rather, I have not made the time to read.
My new commitment as I continue on this journey is to make time to read. Better authors are strong readers. Just as one finds time to get to the gym everyday, the spa every month, a mani-pedi every two-weeks, a night out with friends, whatever it is, I’m committing to making time to read for enjoyment. I think this is sound advice that I will apply as I continue on my journey of becoming a writer. And as I work to make time each day for reading, I’ll be sure to let you know how that works out for me.