Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 14 April 2013
Finding the right time to read
Amy has just sent me a copy of her book in PDF form, and it has reminded me that it has been a long time since I have read any fiction longer than Richard Brautigan, whose books I would buy as soon as they hit the UK shelves, then read cover to cover in about 10 minutes. That was about 30 years ago at least, and my attention span has not increased with age.
The main problem is that if I try to read in bed, I fall asleep within the second or third paragraph, then wake up at about 4 in the morning, face down in the book with the lights still on. I really envy people who can read in bed.
I have tried reading whilst sitting on a sofa on a warm, sunny afternoon, but the same thing happens and before you know it, it's time to go to bed again. I even fall asleep whilst being read to during really good radio plays, etc. (the better the writing, the quicker I fall asleep, funnily enough), so if I ever went blind, I would probably spend most of my time sleeping.
All the books I have bought for years have been either for reference or written so long ago that the effort of keeping my mind set to Georgian English is usually enough to keep me awake. Even then I skip whole sections, and if there are any illustrations, I leaf through the whole thing from picture to picture, like a kid reading a comic.
I don't watch T.V. either, mainly because I realised that if I spent a few hours staring at the screen, I would not be able to sleep at all for another few hours. Why is that? T.V. must do something really weird to your brain, making it hyperactive at the same time as making the rest of you lethargic. DVDs I can cope with, and sometimes watch 2, back to back.
I went to our local library a few months ago, and I was amazed at how many university students were using it as a sort of social club, talking to each other out loud and on Facebook. The last time I went, the only real noise there was the snoring of vagrants, but now signs to the effect that vagrants are no longer welcome in libraries have replaced the ones about keeping silent.
I have managed to get this far without needing reading glasses, except rarely for extremely small print in dark conditions, so that is no excuse. Like everyone else, my focal length has increased over the years, so I suppose the effort of holding a book at arms length ought to be enough to keep me awake, but it isn't. Someone once said that one of the effects of ageing was that it made your arms grow shorter.
I cannot remember the last time I got 'lost' in a book, and I can't remember when I last got 'lost' in my work either, which is a bit sad. I can lose all track of time when I am writing though, which irritates the shit out of H.I. when it happens. She thinks I spend far too much time on this computer, and she is probably right. I blame this six-month winter we have been having.
Anyway, Amy, what I am trying to say is that it may be quite some time before you get any response from me about 'The Time Seekers', but you shouldn't read anything into that.