Friday, July 20, 2012

To Read or Not to Read Through Poverty and Unemployment

Last night we could open the windows and let a nice cool breeze run through the house. I could keep the windows opened for most of the morning too. Man, it was so nice getting caught up with the gardening in the front yard. Coco laying beneath the evergreen tree and keeping her eyes on me.

I could smell the moisture in the rich dark earth and feel it when I pulled some weeds. And when I was about ready Coco stood up and kept looking at me and wouldn't listen to my, okay, I'll stop in a minute. She knew it was time and let me know. My head was starting to hurt. But I listened to my girl. She always knows when I need to rest before I do. I still have some work to do in the backyard. We'll see how much it cools down in the next hour. With a heat wave coming it would be great to be able to finish the weeding back there too. It was delightful to walk with Coco in the park and not be drenched in sweat before going to the library and then the grocery store.

When I went to the library today I checked out Vol. 1 of the Fear and Loathing Letters by Hunter S. Thompson. Thought I'd give it a whirl and read it through the eyes of more experience. I love doing that: Reading something I loved when I was younger and seeing it with new eyes.

So that is my next entry about surviving poverty and having some time on your hands because you are unemployed and can't afford to go anywhere or buy anything. Go the the library and check out a book and then.... read it. Feed your head. You want to be inspired? Get some insight? Think about a new direction? Read an author that interests you or read a story that interests you. Read something completely new? Take a chance on it and if you don't like it, read something else. I have always read every page of a book once I started it. I don't anymore. I don't know if its because writers just ain't what they use'ta be but there are a lot of authors that lack skill and imagination. So if I'm not engaged in a story by page 100, and I have no interest in the charcters or what is going to happen next, then I let it go. Time is short, too short to waste it on a crappy book. There are just too many good ones out there to read.

It took me nine years to be able to read a book after my brain injury. A grown up novel. It was hard work. It was incredibly painful. It made my head hurt so bad I could barely function. And then I went through all of that effort and pain and couldn't remember what I'd read anyway! It was so discouraging. I had always loved to read and to write. I was left with such an empty sense of loss.

I could only read a few lines; for a long time it was maybe a few paragraphs and then I'd have to stop. I could go no further.

But I stuck with it. And now I appreciate being able to read a good book. It doesn't matter if I remember what I've read. Because for some reason, when I read, I can imagine again. And I can become inspired and think about things that left to myself, I might not have thought about that day. I've read lots of books one page at a time. And I'm so incredibly grateful to be able to read again. And to be able to be transported out of my very quiet life to other lands, times and cultures. I love it.

I don't have to remember every word or refer to a specific passage because what I've read has added something to my experience and perspective today.

Instead of turning on the TV and spending meaningless time stewing over how life has done you wrong; get out of your own way and read a book. It will get your focus off of you and your problems and you just might have an inspirational thought that could make a difference in your day.

And remember to write library on your calendar so you return books, cds and dvds by the day before you need too. Get over the pressure of waiting until a deadline to do something and relax. You can always check something out again later if you didn't have time to get to it. Paying late fees is a useless expense. Avoid it. I keep all of the things I check out in one place. When I've seen it or heard it I put it in the bag that I use for the library. I don't lose anything and when I've had a few extra dollars I donate a really good book or cd or movie and share the inspiration.

If you have some really good copies of things and maybe you have more than one copy, share them with your local library or Goodwill. It's a great thing to know you have passed something along for someone to find. Here people give away books. They leave them in waiting rooms or on trains and busses and write in them, free, pass it on. I've done that with my book. I write a little note in it and leave it somewhere. It gives me such a kick to wonder how many hands it passed through and how far it went from the spot where I left it. It's such fun to contribute to the unexpected in a totally good and free way.

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