Briefly, on reading.

I don’t trust people who don’t like to read. Something, anything. You don’t have to be at home reading Tolstoy or Hemingway, you can read fantasy or sci-fi or romance novels or murder mysteries, but for the love of God, read. This summer on a gorgeous, Okanagan summer day, I lay in the shade of a poplar tree on a day off, reading. A young man with whom I was (am- whatever, doesn’t matter, you’ll see why in a moment) quite enamored lay recumbent in the grass, one bony knee poking out of a tear in his pants. “Oh, I don’t like reading,” (so, no worries of him perusing blogs!) I recall him saying, and feeling myself wilt. I may have actually squawked “WHAT?” loudly enough for my friend who is a well educated reader of literature, holed up in a hammock, also with a book, to hear, and laugh. She and I lay in the same hangout area, delineated by our tents and blankets and pillows littered across the grass, getting just disgustingly stoned off of a dispensary joint after her ladder fall and listening to Robert Lowell read his poems on a Spotify channel, and leafing through James Tate’s weird, wonderful sheaves of poems. I remember the way her eyes closed and her face lit up and she said, “Listen, listen,” and the words themselves were beautiful and what they meant was beautiful and my ears rang with the loveliness of the entire thing.

I love living life, full contact. One of my bestest friends (no matter how infrequently I see you, or how shortly I have known you <3) says

“You awaken this hunger crazed goblin inside of me that just wants to experience life at its most raw form.”

I can do that with words, for the people who can’t be there when, threefold, there are ember sparks of a dying fire and fireflies and dry lightning. I can remember every wonderful moment I’ve lived that my heart was so full of joy and wonder and awe and hope and love, and try to recount that on paper. I can read others stories of love and loss and adventure and sorrow and failure and flux and triumph. I love men who smell of diesel fuel with work rough hands and dogs, but I love men who guess (quite correctly) that my favorite poet is Rilke, and who will lie in a tent with the door thrown open, tree shadows on the canvas, reading Steinbeck while the dog sleeps at our feet.

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