Wednesday, May 2, 2012

an imploration for summer reading lists

"Writing is being murdered.  But the solution isn’t [writing] blogs, the solution is more reading. We don’t pay taxes so kids can talk about themselves and their home lives."  
--William H. Fitzhugh, on college students' increasing inability to write long term papers

S U M M E R E A D I N G :

Give yourself permission to read,
to be "unproductive" for a minute,
or two,
or many,
and read exactly what you want to read without worrying about yet-to-be-done "to-do"s.

Give yourself permission to write,
to spend hours alone with a pen or a keyboard.
Let your thoughts carry your words,
and for heaven's sake don't worry about who will read it or if your spelling is correkt.

The world (and your task-oriented self) would say reading is unproductive:
you aren't making money reading,
you aren't creating a product,
you aren't cleaning.

THIS is the grand lie.
The grand lie of our generation specifically.

These things: money, products, cleaning:
they're all mirages anyways.
Perhaps mirages for happiness,
but most especially mirages for fulfillment.
When you begin this endeavor, you will find this.

You will find that reading, writing, aren't unproductive at all.
You will find, actually, that you do not have enough time to think about all the things you want to think about,
to write about all the things you want to write about,
to read about all there is to know.

Your mind will be filled with interesting problems,
interesting words, richer words,
new ways for looking at old things,
and deep deep channels of thought.

Become a person of more substance.
I'd say that's pretty productive.

What are you reading this summer?


  1. I own The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie if you'd like to borrow it!

  2. I love this, Carolyn! What a good message and one I need to remember more. Sometimes it's easy to get confused about what's most important. Some of my best reading is happening with my three-year-old lately, who has just ventured into listening to chapter books. Right now we're reading Charlotte's Web. On my own list is a recommendation from my Dad: 100 Words for Love. I've already started it, but have been moving slowly. It has beautiful language-- I think you might like it.

  3. This is so great. I love reading. I've read the glass castle and the sweetness at the bottom of the pie.

  4. Beautifully written, and I totally agree! :)