It can happen. A library of books surrounds me, a veritable larder of story goodness, carefully selected in my hours perusing the shelves. I choose my honey and curl up and my thoughts wander. Where do they go? The pages turn and I am not reading. Perhaps this is not the book. Not the book for today. A different book perhaps? Surely that will hold my attention…
It happens semi-frequently. Perhaps I am tired or over-ambitious in my choice of book. It is always temporary. And yet I worry with each new, familiar experience. What if this is it? The moment that I catch the dreaded, mysterious affliction that seems to plague others. Am I becoming “too busy to read” ?
It happened again. In the last two weeks I have started and paused on the following – The Light In August, William Faulkner, The Mind’s Eye, Oliver Sacks, Suddenly, A Knock On The Door, Etgar Keret, Candide, Voltaire… I can hear you tsk tsk me. I tsk tsk myself. These are good books Kate! It is no time to panic. I calmly, so so calmly (It means nothing!) return them to the pile and go out in search of inspiration.
Archives (the local second hand, enormous bounty of a bookstore) will not let me down. I browse. I select books that I have heard of, books that I have not, books that look pretty, books that make me laugh and books that speak of Paris (it was a very french kind of browsing). I check for the titles I’ve been meaning to hunt down, many of them absent.
I start again. The History of the Thirteen, Honoré de Balzac. I want to be in Paris again. I want to revisit it, fuelled now by the brilliance of these descriptions, as pertinent today as they were then. I have staved off another reading hiatus with fresh, pre-loved reading fodder. Alas, the heroine dies of anxiety when her husband will not believe her. I have stumbled, head first, into Radcliffe-esque gothic.
I am adrift again.
- Have you had the reading yips?
- How do you maintain reading momentum when your concentration won’t cooperate?