So I just finished reading yet another book today. The title and author are beside the point.
I used to keep count of the amount of books I could read in a month, in a year. But that too is beside the point.
I do not rely on any best sellers list for prescriptions as I have trained myself to be disinterested in things solely for its marketability. I read what I believe has survived the test of times, but I also read what I believe can only be understood during this very moment in time. I favor both the classics and contemporaries.
I read to past time but I also read because what I gain from reading cannot be eroded by time—it is not like money which inflates and depreciates. Sure, through time and age, memories turn to mirages and mirages turn to… Well, they just turn. But that is not an erosion of what was read, that is an erosion of life, an inevitability—which too is beside the point.
I read because it is my drug of choice. It is my stimulant, my antidepressant, and one of my many sources of excitement. But the difference between a drug and a book is that the thoughts, ideas, and feelings procured from reading are mine indefinitely. They are not temporary and do not vanish once the high fades. I do not have to chase highs to maintain those thoughts, ideas, or feelings.
I have friends that swear by the wonders of their drug of choice but I too swear by the wonders of language, of words, prose, composition, and the literary depths that help organize and decipher the complexities and mysteries of our world, of life itself, during and beyond.
I read to step into the shoes of others, to trace and retrace footprints. I read to become the shadows of yesterday, to prepare myself for the mistakes of tomorrow.
More often than not, I simply read to read but that is all beside the point.
Now if you ask me, “Then what is the point?” I would advise you to read—but not just words or books.
I would ask you to observe and absorb, to discern the blues of the skies from the greens of the earth, to imagine solitude in community and unity through shared differences.
I would ask you to not only take with a grain of salt but to consider the entire spice cabinet.
I would ask you to acknowledge multiple truths, to question universalisms, to read with all your senses. Listen to the silence, see things in nothingness, taste the ambrosia of cultures other than your own, and allow yourself to feel both love and hate.
And if you still feel ever so inclined to ask me again, “What is the point?”
I would then sharpen my pencil to its finest point and write…