My week of reading deprivation ended on Tuesday night and while parts of it didn’t seem so bad (staying off social media for the week), there were other things that were so so hard, particularly when it came to no reading. The ban which is part of Week 4 of The Artist’s Way, a 12 week course in finding your higher creativity, included not only reading but television, YouTube, podcasts, visiting web sites, Netflix, movies – virtually anything that included being exposed to someone else’s ideas. I was able to listen to music, although I kept that to instrumental pieces and it was truly a godsend.
Day one of my no reading/digital media challenge, otherwise known as reading deprivation week, found me up in our loft determined to clear away the clutter that has been building over the years. This is mostly clutter of a personal nature: photos, books, cd’s and cards we’ve received through the years. After I cleared a path, I filled the top of the table space with every loose picture we have. These spanned from when I was young through high school, college, post-college, pre-husband, dating, wedding, honeymoon, baby, holidays, vacations. So many pictures.
Can you go a week without reading? Anything? Books, blogs, social media, newspapers, online content, cereal boxes. If you are anything like me (and I suspect you are due to reading this blog post) going a week without ingesting other people’s words sounds like a hellish kind of existence. From the time I could read, which was second grade back in the day, I have never gone any length of time without reading something. And yes, I was a big consumer of the words written on cereal boxes in my younger years because what else would you do over breakfast?
“Are you a witch?” This was the question posed five minutes into the first of one of my many internet organized blind dates. Without much of a pause I answered, yes, thinking my sense of humor was being vetted by the bespectacled man across from me. I laughed nervously before noting his face was serious. “Wow, you’re a Wiccan!” he exclaimed. What the hell is a Wiccan? The year was 1997 and I was barely into my 30’s, still very much the naive girl who grew up in rural small town America. Internet dating was in its infancy, a veritable wild, wild west of electronic relationship interaction.
Until this week, I have never written a formal bucket list. Things would bounce around in my mind through the years and if I did them I would mentally tick them off. Skydiving. Check. Zip line over a rainforest. Check. See the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Check. I even got to see a parade for a dead member of the royal family. That was not on my list but we happened to be in London when Queen Elizabeth’s mother died in 2002.
For as long as I can remember I have always had preferences when it comes to pens. Fine tip. Blue ink. All pens are not created equal though and it took a while to settle on my implement of choice which is the Pentel R.S.V.P., blue ink, fine tip (of course) and I’ve used them for years. Unfortunately as things go with pens everywhere, they have a penchant to go missing often and sometimes second or third best will have to do.
I’ve decided to return to morning pages and a pen is required for this activity. I needed something strong and solid to capture the muddle of thoughts I have after being released from a job I’ve held for nearly nine years. I have never been quite in this position before. I am a long and loyal employee and only left my previous employer of 20 years after much hand-wringing and emotional cross-examination.