A Life of Reading Dangerously

In the third grade, I fell in love with Nick Naroni. Nick had black hair, green eyes, and was actually a taller third-grader than I was. He also read Greek and Roman mythology or at least versions of those stores that could be found in a public elementary school library. So being in love as I was, I adopted his interests and also began reading mythology. Nick failed the fourth grade and I lost sight of him, but literature remains a passion of mine.

I just finished reading Andy Miller’s book “The Year of Reading Dangerously.” Last year I read “My Life in Middlemarch” by Rebecca Mead. Both of these authors reflect on how a book or books can affect a person’s life. What a goofball I am, I read about other people reading. Or so my husband thinks I am.

In Andy’s book sometimes you can’t make out where the books he writes about end and where his life begins. His book reading propels him through a sort of mid-life crisis. After many years where parenthood, the hectic pace of life and work interfere with his first love of reading, he becomes determined to make the time to read fifty great books (and two not so great). The books truly connect with his life.

One time, Nick did an oral report in class on mythology. He started asking questions about the ancient gods and I answered every one of his questions. As you know, I’d been reading. Then he asked a question about something that I didn’t read about: “Why is the month of January named after the god Janus?” Janus was a Roman god with two faces. The probable answer clicked in my head right away. “Because one face looks to the old year and the other to the new year,” I responded. All my correct answers surprised the teacher and Nick. I was so proud of myself. Decades later I’m still reliving my moment of glory!

Anyway, the books through my life are precious and have become part of my essence. Thanks Andy (and Nick) for providing me with a blog post topic. I’ve got stories about my book reading too.

A 21st Century Hermit

I regret that I live in the time of social media.

Not that I avoid the Internet. I do read Internet articles. Although I regret that I have commented on some of those articles. Now I try to keep the comment section closed. That has failed a few times, but at least recently I have refrained from leaving my own comments there.

With Twitter, I began to hate myself and some other people on that site. So I left abruptly. No regrets.

Sometimes I forget that this blog is social media. As I said, it’s mostly for me. I vacillate between boredom, ambiguity, and enthusiasm on these pages.

I don’t dislike the Internet. Every day I go there to look up answers to questions. When did Kurt Vonnegut die? April 11, 2007. When was William Shatner born? March 22, 1931. (Exactly four days before Leonard Nimoy was born.) Sadly, Nimoy just died earlier this year. Thanks for the info Internet.

But sometimes I visit the Internet and stay there in a daze. If ever there would be an opiate of the people, this is it. How many times have I clicked on the weather forecast and strayed to a dozen silly websites and then onto a game of Mahjongg? Let me count the wasted hours.

To maintain my anti-social stance, I will read more books. Real books. Ones that don’t track my reading style nor leave tracks of subliminal messages on my screen (my paranoia is justified, I’m only as crazy as the 21st century makes me). An hour of reading my book is a joy and equals a zero waste of time. I hope the libraries and bookstores don’t shut down before I die. Hell, I may be part of the last generation with this outdated preference.

My social life suffers because of my attitude. I have removed texting ability from my ancient phone. People seem to have a hard time figuring out how to communicate with me. No one calls anyone anymore or wants to leave a voice message. No matter, I may not check my messages for a day or two anyway. So far I have no desire to join Facebook. From what I hear, it can be a mega time-wasting enterprise.

My friends are fictional rather than virtual. I would rather travel in a book than in the real world.

Let me dig up my pencil and paper. Where is that old manual typewriter?  With pen in hand, I’m ready to read and mark up that old book. Excuse me while I step back into the 19th century. Middlemarch is waiting. To make matters worse, this is the second time that I read that tome. I love my social circle.

Blogging For Nobody

DAILY PROMPT
Recently Acquired
What’s the most important (or interesting, or unexpected) thing about blogging you know today that you didn’t know a month ago?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/recently-acquired/


I have slowly discovered that I blog mainly for myself. This public outlet forces me to think more seriously about focusing my scattered ideas into a semi-coherent written form.

I find some pleasure in writing and enjoy rereading my old posts. Some posts embarrass, others decently flesh out an idea. I’m sure most of my writing makes sense and gives pleasure only to me.

Although I must admit that seeing visitors on my blog stats is kind of a thrill. The Sally Fields Oscar moment, “. . . you like me, right now, you really like me!”

Although I believe that WordPress skews my visitors. They must throw me a bone every now and then and auto click on my site just to string me along. Internet sites cry for content, content, more useless content. After all I’m writing my drivel for free and WordPress is buying it.

Also a chunk of my “likes” are linked to sites trying to sell me a money-making scheme by attracting a bigger audience. I ignore these claims and realize that these people don’t really like me.

Another recent revelation: I should stop being afraid of letting my friends read my blog. I have discovered that they won’t rush out and scrutinize every word as soon and as often as possible.

I should embark on a random blog-unveiling experiment. As I tell an acquaintance about my blog, I can watch their eyes glaze over with boredom and/or fear as I disclose my blog site location. Then they can only hope that I don’t quiz them on my blog’s content. Be careful what you ask for.

Droozing to Work

 

DAILY PROMPT
Play Lexicographer
Create a new word and explain its meaning and etymology.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/play-lexicographer/


drooze (drooz) vt. [[OE droocan]] 1 to drive a car on instinct 2 move from point A to point B with no memory of doing so 3 to have little motivation to accomplish any activity 4 to have no effect throughout — n. 1 a weak impulse or urge 2 an unenergetic initiative [Slang] mixture of drugs and booze

The Myriad Benefits of Hoarding Junk

DAILY PROMPT
Embrace the Ick
Think of something that truly repulses you. Hold that thought until your skin squirms. Now, write a glowing puff piece about its amazing merits.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/embrace-the-ick/


The house was as neat as a pin. Old saying – start over. Let’s say it was zen-like minimalist: sparse, clean, functional. Boring, boring, boring.

Give me a good old hoarder anyday. Ah, the stacks of stuff, the labyrinthine pathways, the decaying paper, plastic, clothing, food stuff, and graveyard of small and large household appliances. What excitement, what purpose!

The hoarder is at the forefront of a strong economy. He buys far more than he can possibly ever use, thereby stimulating us out of recessions. Why buy one shirt when you can buy ten? Especially when you encounter The Sale of a Lifetime. (By the way, these sales happen every other weekend.) If the shoe doesn’t fit, buy it.

The hoarder runs a junkyard business out of her home that could, again, boost the economy. I should say a potential business since she would never actually sell any of her great stuff. Broken coffee pot, it’s there if you can find it. One thousand bobby pins, slightly rusty, got it, right under the kitchen sink. Newspapers* from every day of the year 1966 moldering in the basement.

The hoarder is also the ultimate recycler. We can all learn valuable lessons from him or her. Given enough time, the home becomes a virtual compost heap. The house and its contents will revert back to nature as it decomposes bit by decaying bit.

How many famous dead people alone reside in all those heaps of dust in a hoarder’s home? A little Shakespeare here, a little Gandhi there. A shrine, a veritable shrine. Praise be the hoarding instinct.

*News stories printed in ink on large sheets of paper that were printed each day and distributed daily to homes, businesses, and to a sort of coin-operated vending machine.

The Subversive Nature of Pens, Pencils and Paper

Pens and Pencils

When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/pens-and-pencils/


With a pen and paper, I am writing two drafts for my blog right now. I may or may not publish, depends how it goes. With a pen, I record every book I read in a notebook along with a short or long description and/or page reference to quotes that catch my eye. Also I do handwrite a few letters once in awhile.

My handwriting is horrible. Writing by hand helps me weed out more poorly written stuff. My crappy handwriting looks bad on the page and I can sniff out more stuff that sounds bad too. Stuff that looks bad in my opinion, you may say it’s all bad!

Everything looks pretty good on a typed computer screen. Looks great. Send. Publish. But looking good isn’t always good. Sometimes I think I should have waited and thought it out more. Even a great sentence looks like it needs revision when it is written in chicken scratch. Revise till you puke.

Also writing by hand feels more personal to me. No one else knows what I’m writing. (Unless there is a camera over there somewhere.) It’s all mine for a short time before it gets transmitted over the computer somewhere. Or it is all mine forever if I never commit it to a screen. It makes me feel a bit rebellious. So much of our lives are in the Internet loop, this one bit is free.

No data gathering, no key word search, no one else in my head. Until the machine begins to reside within my head?

Perhaps the blank page with pen or pencil will incite the rebel cause of the future to break free of the machine. That is if there are any people left that care about this kind of thing.

Down With Islam, Long Live Islam

Howard Dean told us that Muslim terrorists are not Muslim. That is probably news to them. Instead Dean calls these people a cult.

In this version of doublespeak, pedophile Catholic priests are not Catholic, they are a cult. Yet the world reviles pedophilia in the Catholic church as a horrific part of the whole, in fact, as a powerful representation of this whole.

Too much misrepresentation of the truth today passes for truth. We have lost the ability to use judgement and logic. Our language and thought processes are meant to trick us.

“Arabic activists” call themselves Muslim. Take their word for it. Why try to pigeonhole them into something else?

Call out the crap as you see it.