Because most of the time, we are distracted.
'If you read a book with your laptop thrumming at the other side of the room, it can feel like trying to read in the middle of a busy party, where everyone is shouting to each other. To read, you need to slow down. You need mental silence except for the words. That's getting harder to find.'He quoted a fair amount from David Ulin's book The Lost Art of Reading - Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time. I've not read this book, but I want to, and have wanted to since I read about it previously, in another article.
- Johann Hari (article here)
I thrive on variety and communication in many ways. But sometimes it can become so much the norm that I forget how to withdraw into a quiet place and feel contented doing so. It's so easy, in a free five minutes or a quick coffee break to check emails, Twitter or Facebook. The article was well-timed for me - my deliberate withdrawal during our break from all these things helped me regain the ability for quiet focus, curled up reading a book without buzz - whether actual physical buzz or simply the buzzing in my head.
I've tried to continue it on returning home - taking care to use my break periods as times where I don't switch on the computer but instead sit down with a book or indeed another task or hobby which requires quiet depth of concentration, instead of constant multitasking and busy-ness. Of course, often in these 'breaks' previously I have blogged - which may mean my number of entries may decrease or be less in depth - so be it. Also I feel more able to write in a focused way and I want to prioritise that as my activity.
(Had an idea for a novel while away - am unusually besotted with it and have already written two chapters. Usually I cringe at my own fiction writing but I appear, finally, to have found my voice. It feels extraordinarily releasing.)
So I appreciate the art of reading and the depth of concentration it offers - also other things that require me to be alone with myself. We're not as good at being alone with ourselves as we used to be, it seems - it's not just about reading, is it? But it is a good example.
Book and keyboard images from stock.xchng