Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Literary Me

I had this awful realization:  I should be on a strict writer's diet.  I haven't been.  I've been reading whatever.  And far too little of it.

I love my book club.  I am committed to attending our gatherings each month.  I hope they don't mind if I stop reading the books.   

I won't read  Mark Twain.  I greatly admire him, but I don't want to encourage my own grouchy comic social commentary by saturating myself in his.  "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."--Twain

The bible is great literature.  I won't be reading that.  
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."     I'm pretty sure I'm already sanctimonious enough. 

I won't read War and Peace.  Don't have the attention span.  Besides, I already have way too many characters and points of view.  Who is my main character?  Beats the hell out of me. 
"We can know only that we know nothing.  And that is the highest degree of human wisdom." --Tolstoy

I could read E.B. White.  "I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day."  I could definitely read E.B. White.

I could read James Baldwin.  "Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know that we cannot live within."   Well, maybe not.  I don't have enough moral authority, and I definitely don't need more.

 I could read  Milan Kundera.
"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace."--Kundera.      Hey, wait a minute.  Didn't I write that?  

Could I, should I, read May Sarton?
"Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go."  May Sarton
Oh, I could, I should, I definitely would read May Sarton.

Doris Lessing? 
"I'm sure that everyone feels a kind of permanent anguish about what's going on in the world." -Doris Lessing     Such presumption!  I mean, yeah, duh; but still, such presumption!

I will be the literary me!   

Oh, no.  It's happening.  I'm turning into one of those awful people, aren't I.   Oh, God! 

That's okay.  Don't worry!  My overpopulated meditation on the meaning of life probably won't see the light of day--and that will make it all alright again.   I will get off my high horse and spend more time on on my rather low horse.  That wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Meanwhile, if you want me, I'll be listening to Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen, reading THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING, and sipping a cup of green tea.