I’ll be the first to admit that I lean a bit toward the odd. In a good way I hope, but still. I allowed myself one last moment with Jimmy Fallon (“I Gotta Have More Cowbell!”) and then broke the news to Hulu:
“I think I need a break.”
“Did I do something wrong?”
“No, Hulu – it’s not you. It’s me.”
“You want to spend more time with Facebook, don’t you? I know the two of you are tweeting.”
“No – that’s not it at all, Hulu! It’s just that…well…it’s just that I want to…”
“You want to what? Go on, Mimm. Tell me.”
“I want to read.”
“What do you mean you want to read?”
“You know. Books.”
“Is this a joke?”
“No, Hulu, it’s true. I want to read books. I have a goal. Eight books in six weeks.”
“Don’t make me laugh. You’ll never do it. Two days from now when the latest episode of Glee is available you’ll come crawling back.”
“I don’t think so, Hulu. Not this time.”
At that point I said good night. I thought I heard a sniffle as I closed the laptop, and then I set my alarm, rolled to my side and went to sleep.
Today I determined that all eight books amounted to about 2300 pages. I have thirty-six days to make it from cover to cover on all of them. That means reading at least sixty-three pages per day. No problem. I hope.
I’ve begun with Kelly McGonigal’s The Willpower Instinct. Even though I had dipped into the book earlier, I decided to begin at the beginning. Here’s what I discovered today:
It turns out my recent commitment to meditation is doing more than creating a calmer Mimmsy. Meditation is helping my brain to build grey matter in the prefrontal cortex and other regions of the brain that support self-awareness. In other words, my meditation practice strengthens my will power and bolsters any skill that involves self-control. Like reading.
In addition to Kelly’s book I’ve decided to read a chapter per day of Bird by Bird, the wonderful book about our writing life by Anne Lamott. Today I read the introduction. I’ll leave you with a Wendell Berry poem, The Wild Rose. Written for his wife but used by Anne to describe how writing feels to her sometimes – like a person – “the person who,” Anne writes, “after all these years, still makes sense to me.”
Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart,
Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming a the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,
And once again I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.