What we read – Who we are

Sometimes for me reading is all about relaxing, just letting go and not worrying about the outcomes. Will Harry and Eleanor be an item forever, or is Eleanor actually double-crossing Harry? If she is double-crossing him, is their love affair part of that ruse, or is she really in love with him as she seems? What are we, the readers, supposed to think about this? Do I really care? Or is it just a diversion?

Often, I find myself sinking into the book, resting my weary head, to get carried away into someone else’s story. Little unexpressed parts of myself take trips with the characters into unknown foreign lands, situations I would never find myself in, living vicariously the vicious and crazy life that I will never allow myself to lead. Sometimes, it’s the passion and romance that I fall into. Other times, it’s the mystery and intrigue. Rarely, lately, it’s the wit and intuitiveness. These I find too heady, tricky, and exhausting.

But I remember when…reading Yeats and Elliot…Whitman and Frost…these poets and more used to inspire me, send my head spinning joyfully, exhilarating and peaceful at the same time, until I felt I had connected, had found something sacred, and secret. It was a treasure for me and the reason I studied English Literature. I enjoyed every moment that I studied, analyzed and wrote papers.

But, as Yeats says, “things fall apart.” Nothing is ever meant to stay the same. I still have a passion for literature, but my family life supercedes everything, leaving me bereft of inspiration, lacking desire and motivation for any creative or analytical endeavor. Just give me a little mystery or romance to rock me to sleep at night, and I’m happy…for now.

I dream that in time when things settle down, the fire within me will again burn bright. I want to have faith that it will not all have been in vain, that I will have had a reason to study so hard and forget almost everything I studied, only to remember it in an “aha” moment months later while sitting down and looking through my college books collecting dust on the shelf or hear a quote from Coleridge that sounds so vaguely familiar or someone quotes Donne refusing to go gently into that goodnight. “Oh yes,” I might think, “I once knew who that was and what it was all about.” I may cry a little inside because I miss that side of myself, and I may say, “Maybe I’ll blog about that.”

Is this what following my passion is all about, 10 minutes at a time, once or twice a week? Maybe, just maybe. If any overworked mothers are reading this post and you have passions that you have left in the dust for a time, how do they come back, or do they? Do you one day dust off that clarinet and say, “I can do this again,” and pick up where you left off? Or do you schedule 15 minutes a day to practice in the car when everyone is still sleeping and you’re groggy but at least alone and not waking anyone up at 5:00 AM?

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