The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

14 August 2013

Of cheating and reading

I  a cheater.

I'm a cheater cheater pumpkin eater.

Hi. My name is Tess, and I cheat.

I'm cheating on The Great Reading Project.

That's right: I'm reading around.  I'm reading behind Anne Morrow Lindbergh's back.  And not because I prefer another book, or no longer love her. I caved under the pressure. There are so many beautiful books out there!  But that isn't even a good excuse because I haven't been reading around with other beautiful books, I've been reading books that mean nothing to me while Anne's 'Gift from the sea' remains on my bedside table unopened.

I think I figured out why, this morning. Not only was I going to read this book, and extract every drop of fine meaning from it, I was going to turn the experience into a multi-part article I was going to write for my weekly deadline elsewhere. I wanted to share everything I was feeling about the book, all the wisdom I was gaining, my delight in the words, my joy in the message. Too much! It was too much! I am but one woman, a poor writer with serious discipline issues. I was unable to live up to my own expectations.

Having an outer-body experience this morning, observing myself throwing books around the living room in search of the notebook I was writing notes in - with no success, as if the notes had never existed, though if I went back to Starbucks I could probably find witnesses who would attest to witnessing me writing frantically in a little blue notebook. That's when it dawned on me: just read the book. Don't try to hold on to every drop of meaning, don't scribble extracts, or copy quotes. Just read it.  Enjoy it. It's a book! A beautiful, delightful book.  Allow it to seep into my mind and imagination. Let it spark some current of creativity. Let it whisper to me in its own still, small voice.

Just read. And just then the sun came through the clouds. For real.

And so read, I shall.

Won't you join me?

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