My Life in the Swamp of the Non-Reader

by Kim on January 13, 2012 · 17 comments

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You may have noticed that things have been quiet around the blog this week. I’ve been in a wicked reading and writing slump, and instead of trying to force the posts I was planning for this week I decided to just let things slide for a bit.

I blame at least part of the slumpiness to the fact that between the holidays, work, and volunteering, I haven’t spent a full day at my house in 25 days. Twenty-five days! How does that even happen? It’s insane. Let’s just say I am sooo looking forward to spending tomorrow in my pajamas.

I did manage get my act together long enough to write a post for Book Riot with a personal reaction to a fantastic essay by Jonathan Gourlay,  “In the Land of the Non-Reader,” published in The Bygone Bureau: A Journal of Modern Thought. Gourlay writes about his time not reading, and what his life was like treking through “the swamp of the non-reader.”

As a recent and unhappy inhabitant of that same mucky place, I think Gourlay’s essay found me at just the right time. It helped me think about the place reading has in my life as I try to get my life in order:

I keep thinking that if I just get some more sleep, maybe eat a little better, maybe take a day off from work, I’ll suddenly emerge triumphant from the haze, book in hand, and dive back into my life as a reader. But really, reading is not the activity that comes after the rest of my life is in order. It’s the thing that has to come first, the brain and spirit energizer that is going to help make the rest of those things possible.

I highly recommend taking the time to read Gourlay’s essay and bookmark it to pull out the next time you feel yourself lost in the swamp.

Photo Credit: RickyNJ via Flickr

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila (Book Journey) January 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Ahhh….. for the love of a house! I hear you Kim…. my days off have turned me into someone who doesn’t want to leave the house at all. I want to read and relax… I dont want to shop, visit, or drive.

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Kim January 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm

You’re even busier than I am! I don’t think I truly appreciated a weekend at home until I went like three weeks without having one. This weekend has, so far, been magical :)

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Andi January 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Will most definitely be reading this essay, as I dip in and out of the swamp pretty regularly. Take it easy, Kim!

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Kim January 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Thanks Andi, I will! I hope you liked the essay.

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Steph January 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I feel like I’ve been something of a reading slump for the past six months or so; I’ve still been reading things here and there, but sometimes a week or two will pass between books and even when I have one on the go, I don’t necessarily feel like I need to read it voraciously. I’m off to check out that essay to see if it gives me a much needed kick in the pants!

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Kim January 14, 2012 at 6:09 pm

That’s part of what I feel like I’m missing — that need to read voraciously. At the moment, reading is a sort of take it or leave it thing, which bums me out.

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Trisha January 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm

25 days?!? That’s insane! I’m not sure I could handle that. :)

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Kim January 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm

It’s been ridiculous. That’s really too long to go without a day of being totally lazy.

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bermudaonion (Kathy) January 14, 2012 at 6:57 am

I can totally relate. Sometimes life gets to busy, you just have to let the blog slide a little bit.

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Kim January 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I just thought of it as part of my goal to give myself a break :)

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Joy Weese Moll January 14, 2012 at 10:05 am

So, I focused on the least relevant item and followed you on pinterest. Heh.

Hope you have a lovely at home day. We had a little snow on Thursday and I have yet to leave the house except for some shoveling that was strictly for exercise. Maybe tomorrow. It’s been great!

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Kim January 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Oh, Pinterest. What a time suck. We just got some snow here and that makes me feel even less like leaving the house.

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Katie January 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Yeah, I don’t feel like I appreciate days at home enough until I’ve gone for a while without one. Even days that are mostly off or I only have something fun to do are just not the same as a day staying in! I’m glad you’re finally getting to relax :)

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Jeanne January 15, 2012 at 7:51 am

I’ve always gotten one of two reactions when people ask what I “do” and I tell them where I work–one is the “Oh, I’ll have to watch my grammar” response and the other is “How do you have time to read all those books?” My stock response to the second is to say “I make time.”

There are periods where it’s impossible to make that time, but like you say, it’s the energizer that makes the rest of life possible, so it’s got to happen when an hour opens up.

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jennygirl January 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm

You need your house time Kim, and if it’s spent sitting on the couch and watching tv or whatever makes you zone out and relax, then so be it. Maybe afterwards you’ll feel like getting back on the horse. I do think we get in reading slumps not just because of outside influences, but when we read books so fast. It sometimes feels like we are just going through the motions.
If you really want to get back to reading, is there an old favorite you can whip out?. That might work

Hope you get and enjoy some down time and have a great week :)

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Amy January 16, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Thanks for pointing me to the essay, it sounds interesting. Sometimes I find, even if I only have a couple days off the road, that I need to just do nothing for the evening and stay in. Sometimes when life is busy and there seems like so much to do it almost feels like a waste, but it’s always worth it to re-energize.

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