A Month of Reading – Day Two, Still
This is the second post in “A Month of Reading“
December second. Today was the second Sunday we received an actual printed copy of the Los Angeles Times, delivered to our driveway, cloaked in 3 layers of plastic to protect it from the rain. It’s been more of a constant drizzle here, but the skies have been gloomy and there’s a clingy chill in the air. A perfect morning to linger in your PJ’s and work your way through the thick Sunday paper and several cups of coffee.
Not exactly, not in my house, anyway. The kids were up before 7AM excited about the chocolate in their Advent calendars. They fought and whined and watched the nails-on-chalkboard show “Fairly Oddparents” at a volume that I kept insisting be turned down. All the while, I struggled to read more than one sentence in a row of different articles in the Times that caught my eye.
The first thing I picked up was a delicious supplement titled simply “BOOKS.” It is a special holiday gift guide. A few little articles about books and e-reading here and there, but the rest was a list of titles and I drank it in, dismayed at how many there were and how little time there is to actually read. But at least I’ll never run out of things to read, right?
The rest of the LA Times sat fanned out on the kitchen table for most of the day, while our family engaged in its regular Sunday activities – church, two football practices despite the drizzle, and me doing housework and never-ending laundry. Along the way I stopped and read some things on the computer, and this article on the New York Times website caught my eye, shared by a fellow creative type on Facebook: The Art of Being Still by Silas House.
The title alone grabbed me because it’s Sunday, and we went to church, and when we are in church a voice whispers in my head throughout the hour (sometimes plus) of sitting, standing, kneeling, shuffling, and shushing the boys. It says “Be still.” Over and over again. It is as if Sunday morning mass is the one time in my life during which I am meant to quiet my mind. I don’t think it on purpose. It started last year around this time, when we returned to regular churchgoing as a family after a years-long absence.
The article is an essay by House about quieting the writer part of your mind so that you can, in fact, write.
We are a people who are forever moving, who do not have enough hours in the day, but while we are trying our best to be parents and partners, employees and caregivers, we must also remain writers.
He says that many writers he knows spend more time talking about writing than actually writing. I think I’ve been doing that for a while. And though it may seem to some people like I’ve been writing a lot, and in many places, well, to you I say that’s true, but it’s not the writing I imagine I would do if I was given the chance to do any kind of writing I desire.
A favorite quote of mine is from the writer Natalie Goldberg, who says “Shut up and write.”
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