Readin & Writin

readingI had a superb post all set up for you today. I started it last week and had it finalized on Thursday, ready to go in plenty of time to appear this morning.  Then, last Friday, I went over it thinking I’d just make a few final edits; when done, I realized it wasn’t quite as ready as I thought, so I put it away.  Came back to it on Monday and made more edits leaving it even more messed up. Same again on Tuesday.  Wednesday morning I hit the delete key, sending it into cyber oblivion.  I was convinced this entry would solve many of the world’s problems, win me fame and fortune, the admiration and respect of both common man and philosopher alike.  It was not to be. I wrote nothing on Wednesday but simply sat and stewed about not having anything left for today.

On Wednesday, however, I learned the very interesting fact that it was  the great sportswriter Red Smith who delivered the famous quote: “There’s nothing to writing, you just sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” I liked Red Smith, he was a really, really good writer. He would never write that someone was really, really good. (Also, he was a friend of my late father-in-law, Bill McGaw, sportswriter, sometime acquaintance of Ernest Hemingway and co-worker with Smith on the Philadelphia Record newspaper.)  Anyway, the quote captures perfectly what I feel like right now. It’s too bad that you, my much appreciated reader, will have to pay the price.

Now that we’re done with the name dropping, I received another bit of enlightenment last week concerning the deterioration in my reading discipline over the last year or so: of all the books I’ve cracked open, the only one I’ve  read all the way through is the first volume of Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth. I’m accustomed to read through 10 to 15 books a year; this was bad news.  It dawned on me while reading a post by TS of Video Meliora  (great blog, btw) on his use of the Trello app to track reading lists: books planned to read, books to purchase, and books read during the year, etc. When I set up the “Books Read” list, obviously I was shocked I could only make one entry. When it came to listing “Books in Progress” there were three, but none completed.

I know I tend to the ADD side of the spectrum, but it’s ridiculous to be so undisciplined. Something had to be done.  I took the blogging hiatus announced last week, and decided to finish reading volume II of Jesus of Nazareth and then the third and final volume of that series, now nearly finished. I feel I’m a better man for the effort.

As to why this happened, I blame it on George Bush my Internet addiction, I blame it on having to keep up with this blog, I blame it on summer’s arrival, on retirement, on anything else I can think of. Actually, I have no idea why this happened but for the rest of this year, I’ll take one week a month off from blogging to just sit and read some good books to correct the situation and build some self-discipline.

The moral is when writing, never seek fame and fortune, be satisfied to drudge on in total obscurity.  When reading, finish what you start.  Oh, and keep a scalpel handy to open a vein when the time comes.

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