Maybe I shouldn’t have complained too loudly about never having time to read good books.
I’ve said before that one of the great ironies of higher education is that we’re so busy reading, we don’t have time to read. Sure, we bury ourselves under 100-pound textbooks that cost half of a car payment, but we don’t have time to read. Real Reading takes a relaxed mind and an unhurried spirit, neither of which is possible in a college environment.
Someone in charge of how things run in my life must have heard me, because I now have more reading assigned to me than I know what to do with. In fact, what with rehearsals and writing projects and work and, well, sleeping, I’m going to have to get creative if I’m going to get all of these pages read.
The first Saturday of the semesters is always an experimental day. Often I and my fellow students are too dazed to do anything other than sit around and stare at our syllabi in dumb shock, but after we pull ourselves together, that’s when the planning begins. We dabble in getting things done. We try to figure out what works best—getting up early and reading and saving the projects for later in the day, or whatever else.
Today I tried walking and reading. Not one, then the other, mind you. Both at the same time. This is a dangerous move for me, since I tend to trip over my own feet even when I’m looking straight ahead. But today, at least, I managed it. To and from the library I went, engrossed in what’s going on down at the battlefields of Troy, and I didn’t bump into anyone or trip. At all. Not once. The whole time I kept expecting to hear people behind me saying something about how odd I am and how I don’t quite fit in. They’d be right. I’d keep reading.
Another trick will be dinner dates with Homer. And Virgil. And Sophocles. (Not all at once—I don’t want them to find out about each other.) If I’m going to get this reading done, I’m going to have to read and eat at the same time, toting my copies of the classics into the dining common for lunch, and maybe dinner, too.
I’m grateful, I suppose. After a drought of not reading anything fictional for what feels like years, here I am in a situation where I absolutely have to read the classics. No complaining here. Not one little bit.