All bookish, writerish types will attest, there’s nothing more we love to do than cram down your throat the fact that we LOVE TO READ. Love it. Reading is like oxygen to us. I mean, whilst I’m not entirely convinced that a writer’s love of reading isn’t some kind of self-flagellation/ competitive comparison to our peers; the fact remains.
We. Love. To. Read.
And yet, in a schedule that still allows for a bath every Sunday and at least an hour wandering aimlessly around a Westfield wondering how they make Lush soap look so edible, I do not actively carve out any time to read.
I mean, I read Facebook. I read Instagram captions. I read emails, I read the news pieces for work, and I read fixer listicles like How To Reduce Your Blackheads Using Coconut Oil, but I don’t read books. And, as someone who is a life-long reader and literary lover, this really sucks.
My childhood was spent in the world of books.
Yes, I mean that my mind was skipping gleefully around the fictional worlds of Judy Blume and Enid Blyton; but I also mean quite literally in that I would sit among piles of books. I was a hungry and voracious reader who thundered through book after book, my wild imagination always craving more. As I grew older and begun writing myself, the craftsmanship of writers like Nick Cave and Murakami would have me grinning wryly as I marvelled at their talent.
And then, at a point I cannot quite remember, but know without question must exist, I stopped.
Well for starters, I have forgotten how to relax.
At the end of a facial last weekend, my beautician winced at me as she pressed the 20th different type of essential oil into my face – “You find it hard to relax, don’t ya honey?”
“Huh? What? Why?” I blinked at her, feeling like she had just discovered my penchant for stealing our neighbours socks off the clothesline.
“Your body is so tense, and your eyes were moving around like you were distracted.”
Well, she was right. I wasn’t relaxed. I mean, my left arm had gone to sleep under the weight of the terry towelling layers, but my mind was alert and awake, listening out for the cry of my iPhone, and mentally jotting down my grocery list for the week.
The modern mind is a flittering bird, zipping from thought to thought, device to device, distraction to distraction; before being slammed to the ground when we pass out from exhaustion at night. Dead birdie.
I suffer from Red Cordial Syndrome.
Like every discerning mid-twenties female, I work hard to incorporate some soothing and holistic practices in my working week to bring my mind down off work, and give my nerves a chance to nap. I have baths, I listen to tibetan singing bowl music (for at least 5 minutes), I light fancy candles, I practice yoga, I even stop sometimes on my walk home to sit on the beach and
perve on the surfers contemplate the beautiful ocean.
And yet, as soon as I open a book, my mind turns into a bouncy ball in a padded room. WHAT’S FOR DINNER? It yells. DID YOU WRITE BACK TO THAT WORK EMAIL? It shouts. HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT HOW WEIRD IT IS THAT YOU GROW FINGERNAILS IN YOUR STOMACH WHEN YOU HAVE A BABY? It rants. Like a kid at a party, my mind is bobbing around in red cordial and it’s not…wanting to, uh – what was I saying?