How To Read
Back in the good old bad old days I worked with a guy who would take summers off to go work in Alaska as a hunting guide. He’d return in the fall with an assortment of wilderness stories. One of them was about when the other guides and he all got stuck for a week in the back country waiting for the plane to pick them up. They ended up having to trek miles to another pick up site and wait for the plane there. On the way one of the guys dropped his book in the river and wound up with nothing to read.
For a week they were stuck in tents waiting out the rain and waiting for this plane to show up, and the guy had nothing to read. So he started reading the ingredients listed on the soup cans. Over and over again. By the end of the week he had memorized them and could rattle them off in a litany. Chicken noodle. Minestrone. Whatever they had.
That’s how to read.
Desperately. Obsessively. Like your life depended on it.
Sometimes I wish I read like that. I think maybe I once did.
I know I go in phases. Sometimes I read books like a chain-smoker going through a pack of cigarettes. Other times I forget they exist.
This is what I try to convince myself about exercise. And in many ways I think my life and my reading prowess depend on it equally. Not to say I always respond to the pep talks.
Should I imitate Mr. Flint and scold you?