Tuesday, January 10, 2012

No time to read

A writer friend of mine, Jennifer Niven, whose work and work ethic I admire, has a blog called “No time to bowl.”

I won’t steal her story by telling you why it is named so. You can find out for yourself here.

Jennifer’s blog title reminds me of all the years I thought I had “no time to read.” Perhaps you feel the same way.

Here’s what I now know about “no time.”

When I was a little girl, I loved having stories read to me. Later, when I could read myself, I couldn’t get enough of books and the tales they held between their covers.

Heck, I even read between the covers of my bed, using a flashlight to flip through the pages when I was supposed to be sleeping. I kept at that until I started high school, at least. It was then, I think, that boys became nearly as important to me – or perhaps more so – than books.

When I was sixteen, I began to work, going to school by day, cashiering in a grocery store at night. I guess I thought I didn’t have time to “read” anymore. I don’t remember many stolen moments with books in those years.

In college, it seemed most of what I read was that “required” stuff, then I got married had kids and kept working. My reading was limited to the newspaper, a magazine from time to time, and a few books I’d begin here and there when I wasn’t too tired to read.

I really didn’t turn to books again in earnest until I returned to school when I was nearly 40, and even after that, I sometimes went great lengths of time without making it through an entire volume.

It was many years later that I realized that, during those “no time to read” years, I was reading all along.

My job as a cashier in a grocery store, encountering hundreds of people day in and day out, was like an entirely new lending library. Each day was a fresh page upon which I could read not words, but people. They were as different as they were the same, and each encounter, each experience taught me something new, if not about that individual, then about humankind or the way the species interacts, one being with another.

So, where ever you are, what ever you’re doing, unless you’re locked in a cave away from the human race, when you have “no time” to read books, there is something just as interesting to read.

It’s people.

Try it. You might just see what you’ve been missing.

© Ann Tracy Mueller 2012

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