Tag Archives: Reading

Time Well Spent

Reading.  Time reading is never ill spent, even if I’m not too fond of whatever I happen to be reading.  Reading is a wonderful way to pass the time, to feed your mind, to learn, to escape…  Even if I manage to forget much what I read, it was still time spent well.

 

My former mother-in-law thought time reading in the middle of the day was just about the most decadent thing ever.  A person who was doing – cooking, cleaning, gardening, etc. – was spending time wisely.  Reading wasn’t doing in her book.  (And don’t even mention napping.)  I do agree with her that doing is productive.  But reading is productive as well.

DSC03769

Productive.  To produce, create, generate.  Time well spent should produce something.

 

I’ve mentioned here before that I am terrible when it comes to planning for myself.  Many weekends I wind up irritated with myself because I didn’t plan for this time away from work.  Plan to get things done, or plan for a little bit of fun.  I ask myself if those weekend hours are then time well spent?  At the end of each day I can point to ways that I was productive, though some of it repetitively so.  Such as errands and laundry, cleaning.

 

Work hours can be just as confusing when asking whether we are productive – if I got things done, but not necessarily the things that I expected to do, was it time well spent?  Was I productive?  What if you did exactly what you expected to do but didn’t get the result that you expected?  Was that time well spent, was it productive?

 

So much to do, so little time.  The time that we get here is finite, spend it wisely.  But was is time spent well when there is so much to do?

 

Reading.  I’ll spend more time reading and think about this more later.

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Do the Lady and the Tiger Still have Power?

Certain events and experiences have a powerful impact far beyond the time that they take to occur.  I think that is a safe assertion to make.  We all know someone who still brings up their glory moment from their distant past every chance that they get.

 

I won’t bore you with a long ago glory moment.  But story moments, now those are worth bringing up again.  In some cases I have let the author (shame on me as someone so interested in writing) or the title fade but the storyline comes back fresh as the day that I read it.  There are many stories from my early teens that have this resonating factor to this day.  Some I read in a classroom and some I stumbled upon in a library.

 

Frank Stockton’s “The Lady or the Tiger” is one such story.  I read it in Mr. Bruno’s 7th grade class which would make me about 12 I think.  We read some great stuff in Mr. Bruno’s class – I’m sure that I have mentioned him here before.  (The search function in WordPress declares my memory to be faulty, I wrote about him on my old blog – Take it for Your Share and Go On)

 

public domain image

public domain image

Mr. Bruno gave us a writing assignment to determine the end of the story because crafty Frank Stockton left the reader hanging.  Well, I couldn’t settle on a convincing argument for either resolution so I got crafty myself, got into the main character’s head while he pondered his choices and just as he reached for the door he had chosen, my essay ended.  Mr. Bruno loved my piece and gave me an A.  And I learned a great deal about decision making and storytelling.

 

Now I have come home with a new book – bought from the clearance table (double bonus) – that is an anthology of stories where the writer leaves it up to the reader to tie up all the ends.  Guess what story is in the book?  Yes, my old favorite.  Plus it seems Frank Stockton wrote a follow up story and I just adore the title already, “The Discourager of Hesitancy”.  I hope the story lives up to that fabulous title.

 

First, I will have to read “The Lady or the Tiger” again.  And I am a bit hesitant because Thomas Wolfe famously told us You Can’t Go Home Again.  What if the Lady and the Tiger have lost their power over me?

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

This is Me, this Might be Me, Is this Me

I am currently reading Harriet Reisen’s biography of Louisa May Alcott.  I was given the book by my aunt and I am greatly enjoying it and learning a lot.  I am also remembering how much I enjoyed Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys when I was younger.  I am named after Beth.  (She dies you know, which devastated me when I read that part at the age of twelve.  Thankfully I survived past the age of fifteen despite the fate of my namesake.)

DSC03784

Anyway, her parents were idealists and the part that I want to ruminate about today is something that the author mentions had an effect on Louisa – falling short of who you should be.  I am taken with this concept.  I’m not sure which thought thread to follow first.

 

Who decides who you should be?  What criteria do they apply if it is someone other than yourself, such as your parents?  What criteria should you apply to decide for yourself who you should be?  Who is to decide if you are falling short of this ideal of who you should be?  How long should it take to get to who you should be?  Maybe you are just still on your way to this end point.

 

From an ethical standpoint, I do agree that there are aspects of self that you should be.  You decide what this ideal ethical self is like, where your ethical barriers lie.  And life is all about falling short of this ideal of who you should be, in small moments and less than ideal circumstances, and then striving even harder to be it.

 

What do you think?  Are you intrigued by this notion of falling short of who you should be?

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Oh, If Only

There is one good thing about winter and that is that it provides a ready reason why much of the to-do list lies dormant for the season.  Now I must dust of the list and sit down with it and a calendar to figure out what should be done, where it will fit in my days, and whether the budget will allow.  But just next to the to-do list is my list of books that I’d like to read.

DSC03769

If only there were enough time in the day to be able to read more of the interesting books that come out so much faster than I can digest them.  (And then there are all of the older books, too.)  In addition to the books that I hear about and put on the list are all the books that I could stumble upon in the library or a book store if I go and browse.

 

It would be simply lovely if I could take a chunk of time off from all my other obligations and I could devote my time and energy to devouring these worthy books.  I do read all day – emails, procedures, articles, and at the very end of the day a few pages from my current fiction selection.  Just a handful of pages for me, so that it takes ages to get through a single book.  So that sometimes I forget some of the subplots in a book.

 

Reading is right there with all of the other necessities – food, water and shelter – it provides comfort and education, understanding and enjoyment, inspiration.  I sometimes long for my younger years when a whole Saturday could be absorbed by a book.  I dream of reading sabbaticals when my days get too stressful.  Would I love reading as much if I could be paid to do it?  I would love to find out, I think.

 

If you dream of taking a sabbatical to do one beloved activity, what would it be?

 

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Random Things for which I am Thankful: Reading

Reading has been a great boon for me.

 

There are many things that crowd in and call out for our attention, some important and others not terribly so.  We must constantly prioritize all of these external needs, not forgetting that we have our own different internal needs.  I want to focus on one need that is usually quiet and reserved – therefore not often gaining the attention that it deserves from us in the clamor from all the other things in our lives.

 

We should feed our brains regularly.  Sure you think that your brain gets plenty of stimulation with that impossibly long to-do list.  Stimulation and feeding are very different things.  I’ll explain what I mean by feeding, I think you are plenty clear on stimulation.

 

Remember back into your early days when you were eager to learn things that adults knew and that seemed wholly mysterious to you?  Like reading.  I hope that you have at least one memory of curling up in an adult’s lap and reading.  While you search your memory, I’ll share some of my thoughts on reading and some memories.

 

The earliest books that we were given had wonderful pictures and some had a combination of pictures and these black shapes that adults could decode.  Growing curious, it started to become clear that many of the shapes repeated again and again and they were somehow related to the words that the adult would say to tell us the story.  How many of you had a favorite story or two that you knew so well you could pretend to read it?

 

When it was time we finally went to school and learned how to make sense of those shapes, called letters, and to understand how they combined to make words and sentences which made up these stories that opened up our worlds to things far beyond what we could experience in our little neighborhoods.

 

Reading became something that could be shared such as story time at the library, or as part of a classroom lesson – or reading could be something that could be done alone.  For me, reading was always a treat.  Gradually the books became longer and the pictures less frequent but the words would create pictures in my mind to flesh out the story.

 

As I grew I always had a book that I was reading for pleasure – even as an English major in college when I had quite a stack to read for class.  I made time for reading with each new stage of my life.  Then as an expectant mother I had visions of the joy that would come out of sharing my reading passion with my baby.

 

And we did read together, and it was just as wonderful to be the adult cuddling a child in my lap as it had been to be the read-to cuddled child.  (The downside of early motherhood, especially after I had 2 little ones, was that I only managed to read one very short book for my own pleasure in a whole year’s time.)

DSC03604

My boys and I read together often, even once they could read on their own and they got into all the after school activities.  Then our shared reading time moved to a bedtime ritual.  We progressed into classics like Watership Down and read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (I skipped the Elvish).  It was regular together time that fed all of our minds.  I was devastated when they told me perhaps it was time to stop once they were in their early teen years.

 

I consoled myself with the thought that we had kept story time going much longer than most other families.  Plus we had the bonus of the Harry Potter series.  We reconvened for the latest in that series until my older son was 16.  (Sadly, we each read the last book separately – but discussed it together afterward.)

 

These are good memories with my boys.  I have so many more memories of books that resonate for me down through my years – books that I read as a teen or young adult that have deep meaning to this day.

 

I know that your life is full of so very many obligations, I do.  But your brain wants to be fed.  One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is to pick up a book.  Any book on a topic that interests you – fiction, biography, sports.  I will tell you that it can take me a ridiculously long time to finish even escapist fiction.  I might only read a page or two in a day.  But that page or two takes me away from the everyday of my own life and allows me to experience life as someone else.

 

Reading about something outside your own experience, fiction or not, provides the opportunity to expand your knowledge base and the mental tools that you use to be successful.

 

© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

The Sarcastic Muse

Writing. Information. Inspiration. Sarcasm guaranteed.

Stefanie O'Connell

Just another WordPress.com site

Retirement - Only the Beginning

Retirement Planning Beyond Financial

Voices In His Head

Recognized as Blog Of The Year! (unfortunately, it was given the year 1910, the start of the Great Depression)

O at the Edges

Musings on poetry, language, perception, numbers, food, and anything else that slips through the cracks.

Chicago Guy 14

Chicago's Street Corner Spirits

BAReed Writing, Business Writing

Clear, professional writing is closer than you think.

Dancing Beastie

Seasonal living in a Scottish castle

The Middlest Sister

There are 5 sisters. She's the middlest.

Eyes Like Carnivals

Clear, professional writing is closer than you think.

Blog to Work

Blogging your way to a job.

rarasaur

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

somanyblogssolittletime.wordpress.com/

A good story can transform the way that you see the world.

Always The Write Time Blog

Ramblings and Rhetoric

The Art of Non-Conformity

Clear, professional writing is closer than you think.

xplorenorthshore

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Medievalists.net

Clear, professional writing is closer than you think.

The Creative Penn

Clear, professional writing is closer than you think.

Gifts Of The Journey

The Fearless Pursuit Of A Life Worth Living

Betty Generic

Through the glass darkly

an interconnected life...

Discovering the threads that connect us, one story at a time.

TED Blog

The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.

animatingyourlife

A great WordPress.com site

Second Star to the Right

and straight on 'til morning

CAHOOTS

Success is meant to be shared

Daniel Nester

essayist, poet, college prof, hubby, dad, Queen fan

Bob Mayer

Write on the River

Farmlet

Living cheaply and richly on an acre in Puna, Hawaii

J T Weaver

When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose. — Dylan.

inspirationenergy

be inspired to greatness

Gen Y Girl

Twentysomething. Annoyed with corporate BS. Obsessed with Gen Y. Not bratty. Just opinionated.

Jenna Dee

....living with a following wind

David Gaughran

Marketing With A Story