I Read, Therefore I am

I am sure you remember me saying here again and again how much work I have to do: the piles of papers to grade; the notebooks collected to be checked; the tests and quizzes to make; the after school clubs to moderate…the list could go on and on. My teacher friends know of what I speak. From September to June, I am swamped, overwhelmed, and behind the eight ball.

In addition to work deadlines and pressures, there are the added commitments of “trying to have a live.” I know, I know, it’s a crazy idea for teachers–trying to have a life outside of summer time. But, there it is. I will not give up my painting time on Saturdays, and I want to find time whenever the weather is nice enough to play golf with my husband. And of course, humans are social animals, so I must find time to get together with friends. (It’s never enough time, but even to touch base and say hello is so important!) Let’s not even mention time needed for grocery shopping (ugh!), cooking (love it, but am often too tired), and cleaning (a never ending process). Don’t forget about laundry!

Then, there is this blog and my other writing. I’ll be honest; I don’t write much aside from the blog. I have great ideas and works in progress but little time (or energy when I have the time) to execute them. Plus, as a member of this blogging community, I want to read and respond to my fellow bloggers.

Eventually, something’s got to give, right? For the past few months, that has been my recreational reading. On my commute, I began spending less and less time reading fiction for pleasure. I either snoozed or browsed Facebook or read some blogs I follow. None of these are bad things. In fact, they are all good things. BUT. There is always a but. I didn’t feel good. I was getting testy, cranky, out of temper. My patience was wearing thin. As a teacher of teenagers, this is not a good thing. The ironic thing is that what I push for my students every single day is that they read. And read. And read. But, I wasn’t. I truly believe in the power of reading in increasing one’s academic success, even when one reads fiction–any kind of fiction. And I’ve always belived too that we learn how to handle situations outside our ken by reading. We escape; we experience worlds beyond our own. But, I wasn’t following my own advice.

Lately, I’ve gotten back on track. I’ve been reading Light Between Oceans. It is heart-breakingly beautiful. The prose is poetic and lyrical. I knew from the beginning that something was going to go terribly wrong, and now I know what it is; how it will be resolved, I still do not know, but I know I be both crying and smiling. And, I feel better. I’m calmer. I’m more patient. Most importantly, I learned that I need to read. I cannot live without reading. How can anyone?

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