So I’m sitting here, putting the words on the page, and wondering what to write about next. I enjoy doing this, and with that enjoyment comes a bit of queasiness.
It’s just the fact that I enjoy writing so much that I spend far less time reading. In much the same way that I have difficulty writing anything more than 1,000 words or so (although I can write a number of brief essays in a day), so is it difficult for me to sit down for a long time and read something straight through.
I’ve read (yes, read) about how the real key to being engaged in something is to sit down, and muscle through that beginning time, when there’s the desire to get up and do something else. After that beginning time, there is that great settling in period, when we lose track of what time it is and become enmeshed in whatever it is we’re doing. I have such difficulty doing this, and often dart from place to place, starting one thing and feeling the pull of another.
Even now, as I write this, I feel the pull of the book “Glow Kids,” by Nicholas Kardaras, which sits in front of me. So I will step away from this, and read a few pages.
Okay. Read “Glow Kids” for a bit. We’re back.
Whatever it is that I do, I feel the pull of something else, perhaps my guitar, or a movie that’s on TV. When I was younger, it was difficult for me to read long things. I preferred books that had little things in them, such as Ripley’s Believe it or Not, or books about interesting people and events in which each biography or historical passage was at most a page or two.
So to at least have a day in which I actually read something, I dabble for a few pages, and then go back to something else. Then I go back to reading, and get through a few more pages. And so on, and so on.
I hope that this concession to Attention Deficit Disorder actually leads to my sitting down and reading for a while, in one thick block of time. After all, the classics work a lot better when you give them large blocks of time.
I think the key, if you are bereft of focus as I am, lies in setting down a set number of things from which you can dart back and forth. This is why I keep my guitar handy. I can step away from this, read, and then play my guitar. Then I come back to this.
The good thing about this is that I actually finish things. I just finished writing a song, and I’m half done with “Glow Kids.”
And now I’m done with this essay. Perhaps, with time, I will read the book, write the song, and tap out the essay consecutively, and give each of them my full and undivided attention. Small steps…small steps.