Music, reading and writing are my favorite things. If you don’t know that, you don’t know me well.
As some of you know, I went into a pretty good spiral when Hopewell imploded in late 2011, I was “exiled” to North Carolina and then spent a year living in a dark, damp apartment in which I couldn’t fully extend my arms over my head.
I probably didn’t really get out of that funk until about this time last year. During that time, I had a horrible case of writer’s block and I pretty much stopped reading outside work. Sure, I read the latest Michael Connelly books the day they came out, and I went on a little binge with the Hyperbole and a Half book and Watchmen in the second half of 2014, but, for example, I got six pages into Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom in 2013 and stopped. It certainly wasn’t because I hated it.
At least I didn’t lose interest in music. If that happens, someone please make sure I seek professional help.
Before I entered the Plane of Suck, I was a voracious reader. I literally wore out a library card once. I have two wheeled suitcases I use to move my books when I move because I have that many. (My clothes? Generally stuffed in garbage bags.)
Since about 2008, I’ve gone from my book fitting on a three-tiered bookshelf to two makeshift shelves my living room and I’m about to run out of space again. Out of these tomes, there are very few that I haven’t finished, like the aforementioned Freedom. And Crime and Punishment. And Ulysses. Especially Ulysses. I feel like a failure of an English major for failing at finishing Joyce’s opus twice in printed form and once in a relatively faithful webcomic format.
I just remembered I never finished the complete works of Poe. But I finished the complete works of John Cheever.
And at least I can say I’ve read and own two translations of Don Quixote (one in Elizabethan English and the other a modern translation) and I’ve read Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose several times and wrote my senior thesis on it.
And, this week, the fire was sparked again. I dove back into reading. I burned through another graphic novel, Kingdom Come, and Douglas Coupland’s Worst. Person. Ever. on Monday, thus only giving myself about five hours of sleep before a 12-hour shift. Last night, I got about halfway though a 110-page magazine on the history of Richmond between the 1850s and the 1960s before I was overcome with sleepiness. Finishing it is my goal for tonight.
Next up is a 1,200-page tome containing the complete works of Oscar Wilde. I’m excited about getting into that and following it with Franzen. Who knows? Maybe this will be the year I finish Crime and Punishment.
I’m not ambitious enough to set Ulysses as an immediate goal.
I have some catching up to do in the coming months.
Watch out, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.