Taking the Time to Read

It seems like everything has its own awareness month. For some things I wonder if it’s really necessary. For instance, look at the month of July. Did you know that the month of July, among other things, is National Hot Dog Month? Seriously. Now, I know I’ll probably get some hate from me dissing National Hot Dog Month, but come on.

However, there is one awareness that I’d like to talk about and it’s very near and dear to me personally as well as professionally. That’s National Reading Awareness Month. It’s been observed by the nation since it was launched in October 2007 by the Women’s National Book Association. Its mission is to increase public awareness of the joy and value of shared reading among other things. You can look them up at here for further details if interested.

It should be pretty obvious why I would encourage more people to read. I’m the editor of a newspaper as well as a published author. The more people I can get to read means more potential buyers of papers and books. Getting you to read is good business.

On a personal level, reading is something that I should be doing more. Stephen King once said that “if you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”

Lately, I’ve been failing on doing both of these things. Writing news is a bit different because it’s my day job. I’ll always be doing that, but it’s my creative writing that’s been neglected. As an experiment, I didn’t pay my internet bill when it came due. I wanted to see what life would be like without the internet to distract me away from reading and writing. I might add that the internet is really not to blame, it’s strictly myself. People shouldn’t blame man-made things for their problems.

Having no internet at my house, at the beginning, seemed like such an inconvenience. How was I supposed to communicate with the outside world? How was I supposed to upload posts on my blog? How was I supposed to work from home? My panicked mind threw up a plethora of other questions to make me reconsider going through with the experiment. It’s at the end of that week long experiment. Do you know what I found out?

I survived the entire week without internet. I finished two books I had partially read and got halfway through a new book. I watched movies I haven’t seen in years. I woke up early and went to my local cafe and used their internet before going into work. Life without high-speed internet at home is possible. I’m not saying it’s possible for everyone because I don’t know your personal situation. Maybe it isn’t possible, but it’s at least worth trying.

There’s a passage from The Bible that I thought of during this week of internet isolation. The passage is from Mark 9:43 and reads “if your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.”

Now before any of you start dismembering yourselves, don’t. That’s not what I’m saying. For me, the internet was causing me to stumble in my writing and reading. Again, I’m not blaming the internet, but my dependency on it. Video games with my friends for hours at a time, endlessly watching Netflix, hours of YouTube channel surfing, the list goes on.

I replaced those things with reading books as well as writing my own. Will I pay that internet bill and restore internet connectivity to my home? Yes, because you should always pay your debts. Will I end my internet service once and for all?

I’d like to say I would, but it’s the weekend and my friends are most likely already online…

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