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August 22, 2011 / lynnettedobberpuhl

The First Step

I am sorry I haven’t been around for a few days. I have been in Canada. In the 1960’s. In fact, part of me is still there because I am about 200 pages from the end of the way the crow flies, by Ann-Marie MacDonald. I could say a lot about the book, the author’s amazing use of language and the way she gets so completely inside the heads of her characters and her reader, but until I get to the very end, I hesitate to say more about it. So I am going to stick with a little problem I have: gluttony. Yes, yes, gluttony with chocolate, gluttony with TV marathons of Dr. Who and Project Runway, but our topic here today is book gluttony. I own stacks of books I haven’t read, and my (barnes & noble) nook is loaded with many more. Even with all those waiting for me, I still seek out bookstores and the library (LOVE the library!) for more, more, more. But that isn’t the real problem. The real problem is that I always start a book thinking that I am a normal person who can read a few chapters, decide if I like it, set it aside and get stuff done, then return to it if I like it enough. I am not a normal person. Even a pretty disappointing book can pull me from my real life and bury me. I am the nut without insight who thinks, “Just a few pages, what can be the harm?” until my husband comes home eight hours later to find me mortified with the lunch AND the breakfast dishes still strewn about, no idea of dinner, and quite possibly still in my jammies. To avoid this happening, I turn to evening reading, which all too frequently becomes reading into the wee hours, which results the next day in sluggish reflexes, sluggish thinking, and probably more dishes on the counter. I am a binge reader, able to go days, even a week or more without a book, but once one is opened I’m a goner. Even if I can force myself to put a marker between the pages and attempt to interact with my family, it is a sham. It might look like I am there, talking, cooking, helping build a deck, but that is just a shell in my clothing, walking around with the minimum consciousness needed to function. The rest of my brain is a dog straining against the leash, panting to get back to that intoxicating word-kibble. I try to justify my habit. I claim that carefully reading a variety of works helps me to become a better writer and I believe this is true. I just don’t think that all of the reading I get swept away with is helpful. Some of it is utter crap. I have a good life–strike that–I have a great life. Why my great life doesn’t tether me more tightly than a half-assed plot and a handful of two-dimensional characters is a great mystery to me. It hints of a character flaw. So in the interest of continuous self-improvement, I am determined to leave my unfinished book where it is until the errands have been run, the to-do list completed, the job boards have been scanned and dinner and dishes taken care of. But my thoughts creep back to the protagonist…Focus! Eye on the prize! Except this book isn’t crap at all, in fact reading it might make me a better person…Shake it off! You can do this! Right. Yes. I can do this and it will be better for all involved. I can become a better person by reading later. Now, I need to become a better person by not reading. My name is Lynnette and I am a Bibliomaniac. Thank you for listening and wish me luck.

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4 Comments

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  1. Kay Vallery Young / Aug 22 2011 3:21 pm

    Ah, yes, addiction–I’m very familiar with that (as I sit here stuffing down saltwater taffy–pure sugar and fake flavors–I don’t even really like the stuff–just what IS the attraction?) I’m sorry if I contributed (IF?) to your addiction–but I wish you luck in your battle at least with the lesser quality stuff. (Again with the saltwater taffy–I even eat the ones I really hate!) You’re 100% correct–character flaw! Maybe that’s one of the reasons I love you–you’re utterly human!

    • lynnettedobberpuhl / Aug 22 2011 7:06 pm

      mmmm. Taffy. I just found out black walnut taffy can still be purchased in Okoboji, Iowa. I haven’t found it anywhere I’ve looked in years. Imagine eating taffy WHILE reading. Bliss. Yeah, still human…

  2. Kari Hastad / Aug 26 2011 12:21 pm

    What am I thinking? I’m thinking ditto to reading and taffy!! I just love ya!

    • lynnettedobberpuhl / Aug 26 2011 4:30 pm

      Thank you! and I didn’t even mention hot tamales! BTW if you check out my link to “So then SHE said…” you will find a little diatribe on My Fair Lady that might sound familiar…

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