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Gone Reading
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I haven't "gone fishing" -- more like "gone reading." During the past few months I've been reading more books and I think that's directly related to my lack of blogging and other writing.

While growing up I read voraciously. Most of my exercise came from lugging armfuls of books home from the library and carting them back again. Even at college, when I majored in English Literature, a big part of my "job" was reading books. Once I started a real job, married, had kids and assumed all the usual family responsibilities I was left with very little spare time. When I got home from work I concentrated on my own creative endeavors such as publishing fanzines and mini-comics and various sorts of writing.

I simply got out of the book habit. When I did read it was usually other people's fanzines and mini-comics. Later I read for research or browsed the Internet. Increasingly, when I wasn't writing, I was rushing frantically through unrelated bits and pieces of information, just the opposite of the coherent, lengthy narratives presented by books. It wasn't that I never read a book, but I didn't do so very often or with any regularity.

Last year I began to feel like I was spending too much time sunk in my own not particularly interesting thoughts. Whenever I started to write something I had the feeling I'd already said it before. I missed all those fresh, exciting ideas I used to find in other people's stories.

It was hard for me to regain the more patient and concentrated mindset required to regularly read something longer than an Internet essay or news item. The most rewarding books are not necessarily easy to read. They don't always grab you with the first sentence, even if modern marketing requires current books to be written that way.

Part of my problem in rediscovering the joys of books was probably that I kept trying those current books, which tend to be manufactured to publishers' twenty-first century specifications. Whatever the pros and cons of today's Rules For Published Authors, such books aren't like the ones that hooked me on reading. They don't offer the kind of experience I'm looking for.

But I've gone on too long. In the time this blog's taken to write I could have read a few more chapters of my current book. I'm enjoying Moby Dick immensely. Melville did everything wrong!

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