I'm up north . . . where "starting my engine" still happens. Just at a more relaxed pace!
“I thought of myself as like the jazz musician — someone who practices and practices and practices in order to be able to invent and to make his art look effortless and graceful. I was always conscious of the constructed aspect of the writing process, and that art appears natural and elegant only as a result of constant practice and awareness of its formal structures. You must practice thrift in order to achieve that luxurious quality of wastefulness — that sense that you have enough to waste, that you are holding back — without actually wasting anything.”
--- Toni Morrison, The Art of Fiction, in The Paris Review, 1993
A Word (or two)
I heard both of these words in the news this week. I think it's important that we understand the distinction.
What do you think?
Does an angry rant qualify as a manifesto?
It seems that there is such a push "out there" (in the world) to Read More and Read Faster. As if . . . any of us could ever read ALL the books we want to read. As if . . . reading more books would make us "happier" (yeah, I'm looking at you, Gretchen Rubin). Last year, I made a decision to slow down my reading pace -- and to read more deeply and more thoughtfully. For me, it's been all about the books themselves, not how many of them I can get through. And that has made such a wonderful difference in my reading experience! I'm enjoying reading at a more leisurely pace, I'm taking notes and saving quotes and favorite passages, I'm writing brief reviews, I'm thinking more critically about why I like certain books -- and why I don't.
Anyway, if you're interested in reading more deeply, here are a few suggestions from David Mikics (who wrote the book on "slow reading"):
- Notice when you start to skip or skim sections. Go back and try to read them again.
- Keep a dictionary nearby so you can look up unfamiliar words as you encounter them.
- Actively re-read passages that seem confusing.
- Use a highlighter or sticky-notes to mark passages that intrigue you, or when you are particularly taken with the author's language or turns of phrase. Go back and review the passages after you've finished reading; maybe even "collect" them in your notes.
- Summarize or write a review when you're finished with your reading.
Summer is winding down.
Get out there!
Bask in it!
Here's to a good week ahead for all of us!