Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Reading. Not.

There’s something I live with very uncomfortably. I find it hard to read these days. I don’t mean physically – oh, I need glasses now for everything, but I can still see the words okay.  For a while I wondered if it’s because I’ve been affected by too much influx of material and too many short pieces and one-liners from the internet. But there are still some books I get immersed in and read all the way through. It's not that I can't concentrate - I can; ferociously.

I recently came across Margaret Lacey’s Silent Friends: A Quaker Quilt, and loved it. I had no trouble staying with that.

I used to read hungrily, all the time. But, look, I have this heap of worthwhile, interesting, intelligent books here – which many would agree I could surely benefit from reading.

And they just make me feel tired. 

I start to read and feel my energy slowly draining away. It’s not that the content is untrue . . . I don’t know . . . they remind me of people I’ve met who know so much more than I do and kindly put me right and point out where I’m wrong, and I feel myself just fading out and wanting to go play in the sunshine.

That thing I tried in Lent – fasting from opinions – and failed at so spectacularly. I think it’s something to do with that. I feel battered by opinions. Even my own.

I think I’ll give those books away.


gail said...

Why don't you donate them to your local library and that way you are free to not have to read them. However there might be a time down the track when you do get the urge to read them and you could then borrow them to read. You sound weary Pen. A friend once told me that I think too much. I thought that was such a ridiculous statement because I have always wanted to work things through or work things out. I now tell myself that some things just can't be worked through and I just have to let go of thinking sometimes. It is one of the hardest things I've had to try to master. But it really can be quite freeing.
You seem to be searching for something.Maybe if you could stop searching for awhile it may actually come to you. You are a lovely inteligent lady and you bring joy to your readers. I'll keep you in my prayers.
Blessings Gail

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Thank you! xx

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem!

The problem is not the content of the books, because I frequently order books written by people I find on fascinating interviews. I have a big stack of excellent books from this, but, in the past few years, I find trying to read one is the quickest way to fall asleep. I also now find it hard to retain the information read from a book --why??

Reading print on the page IS harder now. I use my eyes a lot - esp. in fine needle work but I can get that done for hours with 2x (and up) eye glasses. But it is almost like the print on the page is a physical exercise I'm not used to.


Rapunzel said...

I LOVE books, always have. Nevertheless I have a stack of books beside my bed, and another across the room, that I either haven't finished or haven't even started.

I think it's just that we're half a century old and our heads are pretty full already.

At our chapter of life we read quite well when we ARE interested, but when it's just stuff we think we SHOULD be interested in our enthusiasm evaporates.

We need to drop the Shoulds and stick with what our hearts are truly led to. That's advice for you and me both, m'dear.

Pen Wilcock said...

Hi Mary - I wonder if a good strategy would be for someone to read to you while you sew? We do that with crochet in the winter sometimes, and it seems to go well. xx

Hi Rapunzel - ah; it really is our age then. And this:

Bean said...

I have the same problem, and wonder if it is caused by the online media we consume. I pick up my Kindle and idly scroll through FB like this and that and commenting here and there, I scan through the local paper and a couple of other newspapers I like, I pop onto the local tv station website and read a bit of news. If I get bored simply visit another page, so I have sort of trained myself, totally unintentionally, to move on when bored. Books take a commitment that online reading does not.
I have trained my brain to enjoy short spurts of reading with sort of immediate gratification and books are the opposite of that.
I think I will try, and it will take a supreme effort, to stop reading online and make myself get back into reading.
Not sure if online reading is the cause or not, but I suspect it is.


Pen Wilcock said...

I think so too, Bean - and maybe the fragmentation and clamour of our lives in general, too. 'Commitment' is a good word for the quality required. xx

Jenna said...

I did what Gail suggested--gave many lovely, unread books to the library and I can visit them whenever I want. I have never once checked one out (wait, that might be untrue. There may have been one....) You do seem to be treading water a bit, Pen. I prescribe many afternoons napping in your little Komorebi. There's treasure to be had if you'll just float on along with it awhile I suspect.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

Lynda said...

Hi Pen - I was on the verge of giving away most of my Anabaptist books (both fiction and non fiction). I felt I'd 'move on'.

Guess what...I haven't! I'm so glad I kept them. Not that I can go back to being Mennonite 'full time', but when my head gets too full, and the world too distracting, and my mind won't stop thinking, or there seem to be too many choices...I go back to my Mennonite books :)

They seem to ground me...re-centre me. I'm reading The Amish Way at the moment and finding it very restful and peaceful.

Latest post on my blog is about why I can't be Mennonite if your interested.

And your Quaker book sounds delightful. I'll have to search it out.

Blessings on your day! xx

Anonymous said...

stop reading at once!- forget propriety!- get in touch with the wild woman within because your putting her too sleep with too much psycho babble, overly deep analyzing of everything that exists in the universe since the beginning of time and of course the never ending soul searching that we with consciences are doomed to dwell on- watch XENA- a true wild woman (it makes little sense but she's always kicking butt and doesn't think too much about)til your sick of it(also stay out in the woods and natural places-build little fire pits outside in the evening-laugh with friends in the moonlight-stay out of the house as much as possible and NO books)-then at some point you'll be ready to return to the other more thoughtful world that currently has you drained-- sounds crazy but it works---just turn your back away completely for a time ( a month or 2 should refresh you)(and summer the best time to take a break from OURSELVES) and by and by you'll be just fine-- oh, and my point isn't about XENA(love ya Lucy Lawless)-- it's about walking in a totally different direction until we are desperate to get back to our former self with renewed vigor then you'll feel right within- now your just following your habits and you've bored yourself silly anyway-that's my psycho babble--love to all!!! amy

Pen Wilcock said...

Lynda - I'm going straight over to your blog to read your new thoughts! xx

Amy (which Amy?) - Thank you, thank you; my inner core said "yes please" when I read that! xx

Rapunzel said...

Haha! Yes, The Far Side cartoon expresses it exactly. After all these years I've finally got to the point when I can tell I've had enough.

Pen Wilcock said...



Deborah said...

Although I am decluttering again I still have room in my head for a Penelope Wilcock, monastery book ...just sayin' ;-D

Pen Wilcock said...

Hooray! Thank you! Maybe you will get a Kindle . . .