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Posts Tagged ‘self-care’

For most of my life, if I was awake, I had a book in my hand.

Riding the bus, walking to school, in the quad between classes, lounging at home, I’d have a book open, thumb in the crease, my nose buried in its leaves. Novels, anthologies, treatises, memoirs, history, science, poetry.

Anything.

Everything.

I read it.

Then, about a dozen years ago, life went off the rails. Book deals dried up. Friends and family began to die (at least ten during this period). We fostered a young woman, giving her a place to live for a year. Work became a stress factory. The economy tanked, causing the Great Recession. Then along came Trump. And then this pandemic.

In response, my reading habits changed, radically. They became constrained, limited to news articles, political analyses, and works of non-fiction. Instead of a dog-eared book, I carried my tablet with its instant-on, 24×7 access to current events and a front-row seat to our increasingly divided society.

Even so, every now and again, I would return to my fiction books, the stacks of TBR novels that inhabit every room in this house. I tried, repeatedly, to read one of them, hungry for that immersive experience, that miraculous wash of words that would sweep away reality and bathe me in the light of a different sun.

But the miracle never came. I didn’t have the patience, lacked the power to focus., and was unable to drive away the here-and-now with worlds of what-if. Book after book I picked up, opened, began, and abandoned within a few days, the only evidence of my attempt, a bookmark left somewhere in the first thirty pages.

With all this as preamble, one might wonder why, during my recent time off, I decided yet again to pick up a novel and give it a try. I mean, there I was in the last month of the most turbulent election cycle of my sixty-plus years, with a pandemic raging beyond my door, a daily gush of political scandals and turmoil filling the airwaves, and everywhere people shouting and crying and grieving and protesting. Was it hope? Obstinacy? Desperation? Whatever compelled me, it was in this moment, amid this maelstrom of chaos, that I chose to try again, and opened up a 150-year-old book.

And I read it. Cover to cover, in record time.

And then . . . I picked up another book, and read it, too.

And now, here I am, wondering what to read next.

. . .

Do yourself a favor.

Turn off the television. Put down the phone. Leave the tablet in the other room.

Pick up a book. A real book. The one you’ve been meaning to read for so long.

Take a seat near the window, where the natural light will be over your shoulder. Settle in, book in hand.

Open it up. Stick your nose in it. Smell it. Feel the pebbled surface of the printed page, the tension of the spine.

Chapter One.

Read. 

I tell you, it’s like coming home.

k

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I’m avoiding pretty much all topics today because, to be honest, if I allow myself to start in on what I see around me, I’m liable to just go off, and it’d be hard for me to stop. In fact, I have about five posts in my Drafts folder that I will never publish, long screeds filled with passion, rants on topics of which I’m sure you’ve already had a bellyful, and of which you do not need another helping.

So, instead of holding forth, I’m turning it around . . . Howzit goin’?

Seriously. How is it going with you? Are you in a location without restrictions, or like me, in hard lockdown? What’s the mood, where you are? If you’re self-isolating, what have you noticed about your routines, your family, your time? Feel free to share down in the comments. (more…)

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It’s been a bad week.

It started off with having to endure some seriously obnoxious behavior, after which I got dog-piled by a medical issue†, which in turn required a visit to the doc (I really dislike going to see the doc), during which visit I got a flu shot (two birds, one stone, and all that), which naturally made me feel kinda punk the next day, all of which eroded my (admittedly paltry) reserves of patience, which naturally made even the smallest annoyance loom large in my damaged psyche. And that doesn’t even take into account the constant firehose of bad news from the political world.

Upshot: I’m pretty much done with people for a while. (more…)

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