When do you find time to read?!” I’ve been asked by other parents. “Naptime and before bed,” I reply. These are understandably difficult hours for stay-at-home parents to give up. Naptime alone is precious. In the naptime hour you can load the dishwasher or work out, uninterrupted. Take a shower. Eat lunch. This is a common list of desires.So I went a step further last week: I scheduled a sitter for Tuesday morning and went to a coffee shop near my house with a single book in tow. I was dressed in total optimism: I was going to get loads of reading accomplished. The book was Charles Taylor’s Sources of the Self. It’s not an easy read even when my toddler and dog are happily snoozing, but I thought an amazing cup of coffee and an adult atmosphere would radically change how much I read.
Detailed textbooks in math, science, poetry, love letters; material to be studied intensively or read aloud such as drama, philosophy, religion; any material that requires or stimulates deep thinking.(At this point I should add how much I enjoy love letters being on par with religious texts.)
Evaluate and/or reflect on content, to follow directions as in performing a chemistry experiment, extract precise meanings, read aloud, reading intimate material, reading for emotional stimulation.The average reading speed for such texts: less than 250 words per minute.
If you came this way,
Taking the route you would be likely to take
From the place you would be likely to come from,
If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.
It would be the same at the end of the journey,
If you came at night like a broken king,
If you came by day not knowing what you came for,
It would be the same, when you leave the rough road
And turn behind the pig-sty to the dull facade
And the tombstone. And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment. There are other places
Which also are the world's end, some at the sea jaws,
Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city—
But this is the nearest, in place and time…
T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"
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I must change my life, I thought. Is this what Rilke meant? That I should “get healthy?” I should eat better, drink better? I jumped to this conclusion in the aisle at my grocery store.
I've had climate change anxiety since college, but bringing a baby into the universe intensifies it. My anxiety no longer only extends the length of my lifespan. I tell my husband Taylor I regret having a child because I can't stand the thought of Jackson in pain. He holds up our son’s wiggly, plump body. "You really wish he didn't exist?"