This morning before I left the house I remembered that I am sixty pages from finishing the book I'm reading. I was in the living room and went over to the windowsill where I keep the books I'm hoping to read soon. I grabbed one and tucked it in my bag with the other. Then I was ready to leave the house for my job.
Stephen King says this in On Writing:
If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around those two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.
In that book he talks about how he carries a book with him everywhere. I bet a lot of those books are on his phone or an e-reader, but I prefer to think of him with an actual book in his hand, held loosely as he walks, open on his lap in waiting rooms, and on the car seat when he drives because that's how it is with me.
Yesterday just before three my daughter texted that she would be done with rehearsal at three-thirty. I texted back "On my way." She wrote, "I've still got at least half an hour???" I said, "No worries. I've got my book." I drove to the school, parked, and opened my book. I read seventy pages before she came out and I couldn't have been happier. I read my book and then saw her smiling face. My life is good.
Teaching school, I schedule time for kids to read books of their choosing. There's all sorts of pedagogy behind that decision and thankfully the data from a silly reading test the school makes me give backs up what we're doing, but let's face the fact that we do reading time so I can read my book too. Call it a win-win and leave it at that.
One of my great fears in life is that I will find myself somewhere without a book to read. That this is the extent of my fears as opposed to sudden death, sickness, cancer, or another Coldplay album means I'm living well. Still, being without a book to read is fearsome enough that I remember to tuck a second book in my bag.
However comforting that second book in my bag might be, there is of course a downside beyond the added weight and overdue fees at the library. It's that now I want to finish the first book so I can dig into the second. I'm ready to abandon all other responsibilities and sit still turning page. Getting fired has nothing on not finishing the book. That's a problem too. Yet another problem I'm not too upset about having.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to reading.