Friday, June 4, 2010

So WHEN and WHERE are you not reading?

And what are you doing instead?

Heads up, class.  The Dreadly Deadly Week approaches its close.  TGIF!  How're you doing?  We now know what Viv is not reading?  She's not-reading at a very high level, I'd say.  I've never gotten past the cover of Ulysses.  Are there Cliff Notes?

Tuckie is attacking closets and sorting things. Lynn is not reading Elle. (More high-class not-reading, Lynn.  I've given up Scrooge McDuck comics.  Just kidding.  But close.)  I have assembled my new desk chair and noted to anyone who will listen that it ROCKS.  But not in a bad way, as in back & forth.  It's very comfortable and I'm, of course quite proud of my handy self.  It's an acknowledgment to myself that writing is my job and I deserve a comfortable writing chair that doesn't make my back and neck ache.  Well, that took three years. I am a slow realizer about some things.  I also went on an artist's date and bought myself a mock orange bush that smells like .... mmmmm ... home. 

But to my title question?  Have you noticed a place and a time where you'd habitually be reading (or watching TV or surfing the Net?) and you're not?  Are there times and places so powerful that you've found yourself reading, etc. etc. in spite of your best intentions?  Are there times and places so powerful that you declared them off limits and said "the heck with you, Julia Cameron and Annie Hogsett -- I'm reading this right here and now and you can't stop me?"

The things you can learn about your habitual self by awakening to those times and places are likely as valuable as what you might learn from being perfect in RDW.   Because the tough ones, the really fraught ones, those are the ones in which we read to hide.  When we don't want to be alone with ourselves, our thoughts, our doubts, our fears, our obsessions, our creative gifts, our ... you get the picture.

So where I'm not reading is the bathroom.  And when I'm not listening to books on tape or music with words is in my car.  (I learned last time that I can listen to the Spa Channel on Sirius radio and name tunes whatever I like.  I'm particularly proud of "Monotonous Bells"  and "Boring Repetitive Chant.") 

What I haven't entirely given up is late afternoon flop time and late night before sleep time.  I read a chapter of F is for Fugitive on Tuesday afternoon and last night the "Selling New York" finally snagged me in.  (Those people are impossibly spoiled and vain.  And way picky.)  Also, family dinner TV time one night, for two, count 'em two, "Dr. Who's."  I've gone unconscious online and found myself reading more emails than writing them, too. 

What I'm not doing is beating myself up.  It's the rule.  THERE SHALL BE NO CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IN THE ARTIST'S WAY.  Please do not beat the artist.  It's bad for her mental health.  Watch yourself with gentle curiosity. Say to yourself,  "Oh, look at myself. Am I not cute and sort of wistfully sweet?  Such a darling.  And I'll bite your hand off if you try to take my book away just now.  Feisty, too.  I love that about me."  Really.  Observe yourself with loving kindness.  It'll make you nicer in the world.  And you'll see, you'll let yourself see, where you get a little hung up in your pursuit of the NOW where your creativity is hiding.

Two more days!  (Except you, Viv.  We know you started on Tuesday.  Ha!) What have you learned by not reading?  What have you done with the time?  If you cheated, what did you learn from what's just plain irresistible?  Drop by and tell us what's up with you.

Forge on!    


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  2. Okay, as long as you asked -- I took the day off today in honor of no-reading week, spent much of it at the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts) and the Detroit Eastern Market. The DIA is where I volunteer, from time to time, doing visitor studies. Took my camera to shoot some pictures in the famed Diego Rivera Court. (Quintessential Detroit!) Will see what I have seen, perhaps to post it next. 

So as to share a bit of the spoils of the market, I drove home with irresistible ribs and chicken hot from the grill from a street cafe, only now just realizing that I had been listening to the radio in the car -- news, NPR, Science Friday-- horrors, ooops! Noting that there was good advice on a call-in segment about taking mental health breaks even so (so there's your synchronicity.)

In summary, I woke up today in a funk, wrote out of the fog, then took the Artist Way-forward downtown to the art museum with the resolution to be at peace with myself and the world (even though the world is presently feeling a bit of a mess. Can’t do much about the mess this evening, but weed the garden.) That's it. More later.

  3. Ah, revised copy, Viv. That's the best. Understand about the funk. Isn't it great that people are more forthcoming about their bad moods and dark days than we used to be? For one thing, it's nice to have company when the fog rolls in. Great weekend to one and all