Saturday, September 26, 2009

Reading, writing, and breathing

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
---Henry David Thoreau (Walden, 1854)

I am thinking this evening about quiet desperation. My feeling tonight is not quiet, but angry and restless and relentless desperation.
---written by me, on Sept. 24, 2009

This past Thursday evening, I slid into a terrible dark mood. I wrote a blog, then stopped just before wrapping it up, and instead of posting it, I e-mailed it to my friend Marie, the author of the blog sweetness, sweetness. I told her it was a "long rambling angry swearing miserable blog" before pasting it below my message, giving her fair warning if she wanted to put off reading it until another time. (She's a good friend; she DID read it, and sent a supportive reply on Friday. Thank you again, Marie!)

Although Friday was a good day at work, and early Friday evening was tentative but much improved over Thursday, I didn't really feel GOOD until after I'd finished writing my review of Daphne, my latest score from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to really do a good review. It was a brand new trade paperback, priced at $15.00, and I got it for FREE, and it was a great read! So I felt this responsibility to "get it right." And, I should have written it last weekend, since I'd taken Friday off. It was hanging over me, and I felt physical and mental relief when I finished it and posted it last night.

I had this idea last night that for me, reading, and sometimes writing, are as necessary to my health and well-being as breathing. In a way, that's obviously not true, or a wild exaggeration, because breathing is something we do constantly, but reading and writing CAN'T be done constantly, even if we include THINKING about books and reading and writing. I realize they're not comparable in a real and logical way.

Perhaps for me, and other word lovers, we might compare it to a vitamin deficiency. If a person doesn't get enough of a particular vitamin or mineral, it can have quite an adverse effect on one's health. For me, reading is like that. If I could have an allotment of TIME, along with peace and quiet and as few interruptions as possible, to just read good books, I'd probably be a happier person. I don't write nearly as often as I did in my teen years, but once in a while, the need to write strikes me, and I truly feel it as a NEED, and I can't regain normalcy, or any sense of equilibrium (whatever that might mean in my case), until the need is met, until I get it "written out of me." So I bark and snarl at all who keep me from it, or interrupt me before I've finished -- as though I were a starving dog searching the trash outside a restaurant. If I'm writing, or starving to write, don't mess with me, because I WILL bite you.

For now, between last night's work and this post, I AM all written out, finally relaxed, and ready to begin the weekend. I will go for a walk, start my next audiobook, and feel some level of peace.


Marie said...

No problem, Marie! Thanks for the mention in your blog. I'm glad you finally had a chance to get some writing done and finish your book review. You have piqued my interest in Daphne du Maurier! I've never heard of her before; 'Had to Google her! I see she wrote "The Birds", the story that the Hitchcock movie was based on?! Interesting!

I know what you mean about reading and writing. I really wanted to write today and, for the first time, brought my pen & notebook with me to work. I managed to write a few (incoherent, choppy) pages, but it was so darn busy for a Sunday, I could barely hear my thoughts! OK, so I know I get paid to "work", but really my job is so tediously boring, I may as well read and write AND do my job at the same time to keep sane. It's just when it gets busy, there are all those DISTRACTING people! Can't they just go away?... hahaha. I should just become a hermit. haha.

Anyway.... Have a great week!

HeathMochaFrost said...

Hey Marie! A belated "Thank You!" for your comment. :-) I'm glad to "introduce" you to Daphne du Maurier. Her most famous novel is Rebecca, and yes, "The Birds" must be her most famous short story -- both became Hitchcock films. The first novel of hers that I read was My Cousin Rachel, and I remember loving it. I liked The Scapegoat so much that I bought it twice, buying a used hardcover to replace the more-worn paperback I'd read.

I don't do a lot of "recreational" reading or writing at work now, but I had jobs when I was younger where I'd expect to have "down time," and I always had something to read, and sometimes a notebook if I planned to write. It is kind of annoying when you think you'll have a slow shift (say, if 80% or 90% of your Sunday shifts are quiet), and you just KNOW you'll finish a book or a writing task, and instead you're too busy to even look at it.

Thankfully, my mood has continued on a fairly even keel, no big dives since those couple days before I wrote my review. This week has been MENTAL -- that's another story, and another blog! -- and tomorrow could be interesting, I don't know how it'll turn out. But so far, so good. Hope you're doing OK! TGIF, and have a good weekend! :-)