Seriously. I read, but I don't really read. I read a lot at work of course, but that's mostly marketing drivel. And most of my pleasure reading these days consists of books on history (ancient and medieval) or what I would call mass-market fiction. For example, the last two books I read were Codex and A Long Way Down, not the most literary of pursuits.
What troubles me is that I was an English major. Not the type of English major who was only doing it as an entre into law or business, but an English major who studied it because I really liked it. Up until a year or so ago, just about everything I read would qualify as literature with the proverbial capital L. I used to try to read one big important book a year, and if I couldn't find something new, I'd just re-read Ulysses. A few months ago, I tried to reread Gravity's Rainbow, but couldn't get through the first 50 pages. What the heck is wrong with me? I read Gravity's Rainbow within the last 10 years and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and now I can't even get started. And I can't even remember the last time I read poetry for fun (not counting revising and posting my own, which were written at least three years ago).
Is this something that happens to everyone? Maybe I just don't have the energy these days after dealing with work and everything else that life deals you in your 30s. How do I get over this. My writing is suffering because of it.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the most recent books. I mean, Nick Hornby is still Nick Hornby (and he is an Arsenal fan after all). Codex was allright, but I've read much more intellectually stimulating books on similar themes; The Name of the Rose and Plowing the Dark immediately come to mind. I have friends asking me about The Sound and the Fury. Unless I can get out my reading funk, do I really have the standing to talk to them about it?
Eventually, I'll get my head around it, and more St. Mary's posts will appear. I'm already climbing the google rankings on the subject anyway. And if I'm really lucky, I have more the poem sequence to share too.
NP: Willie Nelson on PBS. Up Next: The Carter Family