Letting go – giving in to the pleasure of reading

It is Sunday afternoon and on the way to my desk at Uni I succumbed to the temptations of the delights of a pot of tea (or two) and a seat outdoors at Little Way, an eatery near campus that opened a week ago.

It felt good to be outside in the fresh air. I fluffed about with some work but not much. The tea really was very good and I enjoyed the crumbed squid I opted for.

On reflection, tea and squid doesn’t make a lot of sense as a combination and I will be more thoughtful with my ordering next time but each was lovely in their own way.

Mostly, I was excited by the coolness of the fresh air.

Newly opened eatery Little Way, on Broadway in Nedlands
Fresh and inviting

 

A cool change

I seem to be inside all the time of late. This is partly because Perth has been so hot and the air outside has been like warm soup but also because I’ve either been at either my day job office or at Uni. To be outside with a cool breeze against my face was delicious. To switch off, frankly, joyous.

I don’t often goof off on a weekend afternoon. Even over the Christmas – New Year period, I kept the work going as much as I could. I’ve studied part-time while working full-time for most of my working life and, as a result, my weekends have been ‘golden’ for years. If I haven’t been studying I’ve been writing.

Catching up with friends and family punctuates the routine.

Knowing how I ‘should’ be spending my weekend time and not doing so tends to leave me uneasy. Last week, though, I’ve realised I’m at peak capacity and I felt I needed to step back a little. The year is just a couple of weeks old and I’m thinking of a holiday; just a week away, somewhere quiet, somewhere without a library.

I tend to measure a good holiday by the quality of the libraries I spend time working in. The idea of a library-free holiday feels unusual. I’ve also been weighing up the idea of making the week technology free. I don’t know how that will go. Surely it couldn’t be as hard as it feels it would be? I

’m also not sure how I’ll put together a week away. I suspect it will come down to a compromise. A week off with just a couple of days away may do the trick?

While this will go down as one of my most ‘unproductive’ weeks on record, I have made some inroads. While reflecting on my thesis topic, I’ve made links between a range of unexpected sources and influences that will be useful for further exploration. This is more exciting than I can explain, other than to say it is always heartening (yet also, on some levels, disappointing) to identify connections between the world today and what I’m looking at in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

My next step is to confirm how to make them work. They aren’t ready for public consumption but I’m looking forward to developing my explanations of the connections. That my awareness of these connections has emerged through serendipity is a bonus. What seems to be serendipitous may, of course, just be that I left my mind free for some processing space.

Using poetic forms as a means to make notes and work with ideas continues to be helpful. I haven’t ‘finished’ anything but I have jottings that are promising. At the very least, they are useful as notes and starting points for the next piece of work. I’m still in that space where any words on the page are exciting; that those words might take on a pleasing shape gives me joy.

The calm of reading

I love reading but I lately I haven’t been reading fiction for pleasure. With so much else to be doing I just let it slide. This weekend I’ve indulged in some pleasure reading. I (finally) finished A Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale and I’ve nearly finished Careless by Deborah Robertson.

I enjoyed the Gale and can’t explain why it took me so long to read it. The practical reason is possibly that I put it down for a minute and it got buried under papers for a bit, languishing until I uncovered it. I had been meaning to read Careless for ages. This morning seemed like the perfect time to crack into it. I’m expecting to finish it tonight.

The thing that has pleased me about this weekend’s reading is that I’d (somehow) forgotten how different reading for pleasure is from reading for information. It is wonderful to remember that reading can be calming. I love what I’ve been reading for Uni but, for the most part, it hasn’t been relaxing of late. This weekend I have revelled in immersing myself in stories and how refreshing that can be.

As the weekend comes to a close I am still tired. The dream of a modest holiday lingers as a necessary goal but I have to admit that I’m feeling more relaxed. I let go of the routine and, while I may later be tempted to rue the day that I did, it is delightful to feel this relaxed.

Lilies in the moat at the Reid
Memory of calm

 

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