Sunday, August 3, 2008

Not Reading

There will inevitably be those times when we simply do not have time to do even those things that are important for ourselves. It is certainly the sign of the times when in the past, people could not take care of their health because of the lack of knowledge or wealth. These days however, people fail to do so simply because they just don't have the time. Work seems to intrude on just about everything these days that I am sometimes tempted to think that overwork and working over time is one of the greatest social evils of our age more so than illegal substances and corruption. I shall save that rant for some other day. But it is in those times that I tend to find myself not reading something. Although I do read a lot in one day (submissions, letters, cause papers, emails and all the usual routine paperwork), when I say I do not read something I mean something different,. And something different means something either tangentially related to the law (judges biographies, the state of law in other jurisdictions, etc.) or something different altogether - psychology, economics, religion or good fiction (the classics or those that come highly recommended by my more literary friends). And newspapers by the way do not count because they are generally biased, does not provide much food for thought and the quality of writing in general leaves some style and ability to be desired.

I find that after about 2 weeks of not reading and being in the thick of work, I will slowly start to get uneasy about not reading something substantive or substantial or thought provoking. I need something new to keep my thoughts and mind churning over some other matters. If these needs are not met by the 3rd week that's when I start to think and feel that the neurons in my head that are not used begin to implode. Day by day, I become more and more convinced I'm becoming stupid. If this is not addressed in another 2 - 3 weeks (usually because of work and by now there would have been some pissed up parties and hang overs), that's when the fear digs deep. By now I will brook no dispute that I am marginally intelligent than an amoeba and paralysis in my reading and writing sets in. When I try to write, the fear freezes my hands and a little voice whispers in my ear that it's not good enough and never will be. If I try to now actually read something, I find that the words become heavy and no longer can I embrace each word no matter how short because my 'literary arms' have become weak. The words fall heavily and painfully on to my feet. The sentences stab right through my soft head and my eyes are like pools of water mirroring the emptiness of my head.

Thankfully I have never gotten further than that because if I had, I would have probably joined UMNO and started raping goats in the kampung or something with black polish on my body. But I try my best not to go without reading too long because the road back to actually read something substantive and meaningful is a long and painful one, letter by letter, word by word and sentence by sentence. But oh, to read and resonate, how wonderful a thing it is!

1 comment:

donplaypuks® said...

If you have time, get a copy of 'Invisible Cities' by Italo Calvino, the Noble Prize Winner.

One of the all time best books.

For sheer thriller, any of Lee Child's latest like 'One Shot' with Jack Reacher as hero, is a page turner.