Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? -Sathya Sai Baba

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Reading on the Subway (and On Being an Occasionally Moody Fucker)

Found this neat little website of folks reading on the subway: Underground New York Public Library. I often think of how I am presenting myself with the books I read, which is pretty typical of the narcissism I hate in myself, but there we are.

I mean, I'm a big person (six foot four, two hundred pounds), so I know I'm tough to miss. I make it a point never to sit on the train during rush hour if it's very crowded, so there I am, taking up all that space like a giant, and I read big, chunky books that hurt my wrists somewhat. So I try to be inconspicuous in my mind, as if, through some sort of meekness transference, I can make all this mass invisible and unobtrusive. Even so, I still sometimes find myself wondering if anybody is looking at whatever I'm reading - if they've read it too, if they want to read it, if they'd like to talk about it, if they hated it and are judging me viciously for my perceived lack of taste. Most of the time, I'm sure, they don't think of me at all.

I recently started reading Wilhelm Reich's The Function of the Orgasm, mostly because an author I admire, Robert Anton Wilson, was a big fan. The book itself was dry and dull, pretty typical mid-Twentieth Century psychological text, but let me tell you, that is a title to carry around on the train. I found the woman seated in front of me while I read it glancing up furtively at the cover, tilting her head a little to try and read the blurb on the back. It's a pretty audacious title for such a dull book. I was a little embarrassed by her frank perusal and, worried I might accidentally meet her eyes, I lifted my book so I couldn't see her over it. 

I eventually got tired of reading it, though, so I recently switched to trying to read The Wind-up Bird Chronicle again. It's much easier going this time than the last, which is understandable, considering what a mess I was the first time I tried to read it (circa 2009, stopped using kratom, blah-blah-blah). I'm hoping that Murakami wins the Nobel Prize tomorrow, so that I can be reading a book by him when he wins. And then people can see me reading it, and know how cool I am (i.e. not at all).

This past weekend's writing came to a little under 10,000 words. Some of them were even pretty good. 

As you may or may not be able to tell from my writing style, I'm feeling a little under the weather today. I swam yesterday, and I may have overdone it. Oddly enough, my physical distress manifests itself in emotional issues. It only took me forty years to figure that little bit of information out. If I'd known in high school that when I'm sore and tired or hungry I get cranky, anxious and depressed, I imagine I might have been a little kinder to myself. Better late than never, I suppose.

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