Sunday, April 01, 2007

What to do while not reading

When I go out to lunch with my parents, they bring their own reading material. If I point out to them that I'm not that boring to actually talk to, they may leave their books at home. Or not. I can shame my mother, but not my father. And I won't mention how many books their house has, but when I tried to talk to them about safety and earthquakes, my mother said that being crushed by books wouldn't be a bad way to go.

So I come from a serious reading family, though my brother claims to have survived Harvard without reading one book. (Clearly reading can be a recessive trait.) I have my parents habits for reading, which I had always regarded as a good thing. But Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way describes how when you overread, each work is a tranquilizer that lulls you into not doing your own work. So last week I didn't read at all, with the exception of two blogs, which I sort of instinctively clicked to, and the room service menu for the Hilton in Sacremento, which I read as though it was some sort of holy prayer. Here's a list of other things I did while Not Reading:

At Home

Baked a timbale.
Cooked a lot.
Sat on the porch and listened to the birds.
Watered the garden.
Wrote some poems.
Trimmed the cacti.
Talked to my husband. Listened.
Went to the art museum.
Went to a concert.
Hung out with a friend.

While on a Business Trip

Listened to approximately 300 Powerpoint slides.
Talked to other small publishers about challenges, vacations, and drinking.
Ran into my old bosses.
Contemplated a gin and tonic. Contemplated wine. Contemplated whiskey.
Showered a lot.
Watched the Weather Channel on hotel TV.