You’ve probably had spells like this too, when — even though you usually turn to books for escape and entertainment and information and, well, nearly everything — reading is impossible.
Things have been unexpectedly and overwhelmingly quiet here, online, due to a couple of major offline events which completely eclipsed my reading for a time, but I am back to my books
And even though it’s now March and the new year has decidedly taken hold for most other folks, it feels as though mine has barely begun, so I’m carrying on with the posts planned for January.
Today? Talk of my aims for 2013, which are meant to soak its months in a more general way but which will influence my reading as well.
Sunday? Bookchat about the second story in Alice Munro’s Dear Life, “Amundsen”. (The schedule is here: please feel free to join in for a single story or for the remainder of the collection.)
Next week? Talk of my specifically bookish readolutions for this year, a recap of some of my favourites from 2012, and some housekeeping (including a summary of my 45 Days of House of Anansi reading, and the fun stuff that goes along with that).
And this year? At the end of 2013, I hope to look back and see that I’ve kept these ideas in mind throughout the year.
First? Persist. Perhaps with a very long book. But, also, with all those other things that I keep saying I’ll make time for, someday. I’m trying to move ‘someday’ into the present. (So far, this is working well. Except for the whole reading-long-books part. But, I’m reading again, so I’m not complaining.)
Next, More Music. It doesn’t feel so long ago that which radio station I listened to — the mix that they played — defined who I was as a person. Music was so incredibly important that a day never passed without it, but in recent years, even listening to old favourites was something indulged in rarely, often just background noise. I will need to find some book-friendly listening, but I’d like to find some new favourites too.
Explore. There are so many ways in which even our own neighbourhood could yet be explored, let alone corners and strips in the city that we haven’t ventured to yet. We’ve been spending one day each alternate weekend, morning-til-night, exploring a neighbourhood in this city, each time including a stop at a branch library I had never visited before (and, yes, borrowing a book each time…okay, one time, five books).
Take care. Second Story Press sent me a copy of this book last autumn, and I’ve got it on the shelf with a couple other favourites (Gillian Deacon’s There’s Lead in Your Lipstick and Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie’s Slow Death by Rubber Duck). In short, less plastic and more exercise, fewer late-nights and more meditations, not-so-much “too busy” and more “making time” for healthier options and habits.
Eat well. If I had a dollar for every plate of noodles and pesto with chickpeas that I made and ate last year, I would be out buying books for an entire day somewhere right now. More variety and more vegetables. More fresh greens and more tea. More home-baked treats and more fruit. More fair-trade chocolate truffles. More cookbooks for inspiration. More talk about more, less about what I’m not eating.
Look beyond the headlines. Which also involves more regular looks at the headlines, which I’ve avoided out of despair for some time now. And, then, a determined effort to reach beyond them and suss out other versions of the truth. Books like Gerry Fostaty’s remind me that there is always another side (actually, many other sides) to any given story, and I’m aiming for a kaleidoscope as my own version.
Live creatively. When you lose a habit, a book like this can help you reclaim it. Reading poetry in the mornings? Taking a long walk and stopping to watch and listen or, simply, sit? Journalling or taking photographs? Visiting local galleries and listening to more live music? In a city like this I can, at the very least, inject my days with creativity-via-osmosis, which is great encouragement for cultivating it personally too.
And, Refresh. Look at the familiar with fresh eyes. Whether this is a classic novel that’s been revisited or a favourite book to be re-read, or getting reacquainted with people and places that matter. Whether it’s a new pesto recipe (because I’m not giving up my go-to pesto meals), a recent album by an old-favourite singer, a holiday with a loved one, or a new frame for an old photograph, I’m aiming to look at 2013 with bright eyes.
And how about you? How has your 2013 been treating you so far?
Have you made any quiet declarations to yourself (or noisy outright resolutions) about how you would like the year ahead to be?
Or, have you been madly scribbling out booklists and readolutions? Are any of these books on your TBR?
Do tell me what you’ve been up to: I’m itching to catch up with you! (And if, by chance, it’s your first time here, please say hello and tell me what you’re reading.)