That inspiration you feel when you start on a new book. A book that is just right. A book that feels like it was written just for you; to fit your every demand of a book; to guide you to emotional places you need to be; to lead you by the hand to some clearer understanding of the things that are going on in your life. Not all books are like that. Not all books make you feel like you’re one with it. But when it happens, it’s such an all-absorbing experience. You can’t help but devour the book as if it were your first meal in a month.
Sometimes I wonder if I should just stop reading books that don’t make me feel like this. Let my time be spent only reading the books that truly offer me something right at the go, and speak to me throughout. Earlier today I finished The Deep by John Crowley, which was a good book, but it took me some time to really get into it. Its story develops at a slow pace, and with a lot of different things thrown at your face, making it hard to really digest it all through the first chapters. Later on, though, a tomboy named Nod enters the book, and her story is really what caught me throughout and made this a pretty good read in the end. After finishing it, I started on The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, which caught me instantly. His prose is just amazing, and it has a lovely mixture of humor and sadness in it. It’s one of those books that is easily devoured. If I had to go by my “skeptic reading” method, I wouldn’t have read The Deep to the end, which I would probably consider to be a mistake, now that I’ve read it. Yes, I think I will let that idea remain an idea only. Of course, some books can be outright tedious and not worth reading. But I’ve seen people give up on great books just because they weren’t caught by the first pages. I’m taking The Trial by Kafka, Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre and other great, great works like them. I don’t want to become a person who misses out on experiences like that, just because I can’t get past the first few pages.
This reading has deemed me rather asocial for the last couple of days, but it’s about time I took some time for myself. I have been quite socially active ever since I started at the University, and though I definitely feel more at ease with it now than I would have a couple of years ago, it still seems to take its wear on me over time. I need some alone time every now and then. And through the last couple of years my alone time has pretty much been reading time. I’m pleased with that evolution. I still remember when all my alone time was spent in front of the TV watching series or with a Playstation controller in my hands. I still find time to do those things; sometimes I really need to just let my mind rest and have that kind of entertaining, but it’s more of a choice now than a default. It’s only when I really need it – it’s not until I need something else.
Another reason why I have devoted myself so much to books these days, is that these are probably the only days until Summer where I can really allow myself to delve into fiction writing. More exams are up ahead, and after them the next semester starts. I’m looking forward to reading philosophical texts again, but right now I really feel like I need the recharge my batteries with something a bit lighter, something where it’s my choice whether I want to flip and turn every single word on a page, or just let the story take me; follow it through its ups and downs, relate it to myself, as I always do (as I guess most people do?) and figure out things about myself – and not least: let it inspire me.
I feel like inspiration really hits me these days. Both in listening and in reading, and I feel I can use it both in writing and in making music. It seems every time I pick up my guitar, I find a new melody. Just to think of how little I could do with a guitar a year ago, or — well, maybe more correctly half a year. I know I’m still not a great guitarist by any means, but I think I’m becoming a decent musician. I don’t know the names of any of the chords I use. Heck, I still don’t even know the names of the strings. Selective learning, I guess. Theory has never interested me much (which is a bit odd, given how fond I am of philosophy), it’s the practical side that really takes me in. Again, my guitar is one of the things that has helped me make my Playstation and extra-thing instead of a main-center of entertainment. Now, in 8 out of 10 cases, I pick up my guitar and start strumming instead of starting the Playstation.
I guess my mind has changed a lot over the last year. I value “skills” now. I value the learning process. I want to learn, I want to get better. I feel like there’s an honour to striving for something. I didn’t feel that honour when I was in high school. I felt like that striving, be it in school or with music, was only something you did to show off. I still think some of it was back then. Or, at least the attitude about it was. But not anymore. Maybe it’s just my attitude that has changed, but now it really seems as if striving for something is a noble act. Perhaps I’ve just read too much Plato. Whether it’s good or bad doesn’t really matter, what matters is that I feel like it’s good. And it helps me become better at the things I want to become better at.
Plus, as I’ve talked about the last couple of days: I feel again. I feel love again.