My job affords the luxury of having a ridiculous amount of time to do nothing. (Being a teacher is hard work! Please note that the 8 weeks of vacation I have each year are absolutely necessary to my sanity!) A first, I took no work home to Kentucky with me this year. I have spent my long mornings (well, technically shorter, I guess, as I haven’t set an alarm clock. Long in the time spent in my pajamas before I get dressed for the day) reading the Times, New York Magazine and every blog entry from 2008. The interesting part is that I have 96 posts in comparison with 2007’s 53. I did start posting poetry this year, which can account for a bit of the increase of posts. I have also spent less time writing in my moleskin journal this year than any other year in the past decade (it feels weird to be able to say that), so for better or worse, I have reflected on life with reading as my main vehicle. As I was reading–and thinking–this week, I remembered one of my favorite movie scenes of all time: when John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity organizes his music collection autobiographically. It was interesting to consider my reading life this year in the same manner. Here’s what I’ve found:
1. Nonfiction was an education. I’ve read more nonfiction this year than ever before. This has been a year where I’ve discovered my own opinions and have tried to wade through the social and political issues and complications that plague my mind and weigh heavily on my heart. Reading books like Blessed Unrest, Not for Sale, and Jesus for President were an incredible way to learn and to process.
2. Fiction was a means of escape. Comparing my writing style this years to last was telling: somewhere along the way–actually, in November–I realized that my posts were more “review” and “recommendation” style rather than delving into the issues or complicated emotions found in fiction that I typically, and previously, like to unearth. Two things precipitated this reading as escape: one, it was a year of watching friends move (or missing the ones who left in 2007). For as long as I can remember, I have had a-maz-ing girl friends, and for much of this year I felt like Carrie in Sex and the City when she was in Paris looking through the windows at girl friends having brunch. Books became a distraction, especially in the summer when I had nothing else to do and didn’t feel like thinking.
3. Poetry was an attempt to crystallize and capture the moments when for a split second everything seemed clear. It is cathartic to record them in writing, and to revisit.
5. Writing with links and pictures and referencing old pieces of writing reminds me of my capstone lit class at Miami. We studied the definition of modern and post modern and the role that technology has in our ability to tell stories. It all seems to follow my ongoing frustration that sometimes there just aren’t words.
The hope is that 2009 will bring more in depth reading, good times with new friends, adventure traveling with the old and the ability to read Harry Potter in Spanish. Books on deck:
The Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
shoot. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. Suggestions welcomed. Book partnerships adored.