I just read Professor Nana's meditation on fringe reading, or reading in the wild, as Donalyn Miller's new book calls it (wonderful book), and I wanted to document for myself what reading means to me every day.
Right now I am reading The Spectacular Now(paperback), Dr. Sleep(hardcover), Ghost Story(Audible), and the draft of a YA novel (iBooks) written by an old friend of mine. These books are placed at different locations throughout the house. I read a daily poem every morning on Writer's Almanac in Homeroom, and a poem every night on my Poem Flow phone app. I am an English teacher, so the day is peppered with re-reads to prepare for class as well--today I read excerpts from the Wife of Bath's Tale, Book I of the Aeneid, and Their Eyes Were Watching God. I also paged through my dad's copy of Nourathar, a book about visual music from the mid-20th century. He has dementia, so moments when we can talk about what sticks in his mind are precious. We both agreed that the author of Nourathar was odd, if not crazy. It is just what he would have said five years ago, so I think we had a good visit today.
All this does not count the news, Twitter and Tumblr. It does not count the 25 or so reading journals I am about to read. I love to read, that's clear. But more than that, I love to read because it reminds me that I am not alone, even when I AM alone. It fills my heart with story and reminds me how alike my students and I are. It gives me my dad for an extra half hour. It helps me see the future when the quotidian passage of the days seems to deny it. Mostly, it reminds me that being human is mostly about the parts of myself I cannot see or touch. There is no way to thank God for the gift of my life and the threads that tie me to every other human being. We are amazing creatures, we humans. We live stories, we tell them, and then we write them down. We are blessed.