March 10, 2004

Diving in: Reading as living.

Are you one of those people who, like me, cannot seem to read anything only out of mere intellectual curiosity? If I am reading a philosophy book, I have to buy into the philosophy and try to "live" it in order to enjoy the book enough to read it. I have to believe the poet and to want to experience her joy or his pain myself. I have to sympathize with and become the protagonist in the film or novel. I received a package today from one of my very favorite people in the universe, which included many goodies. Among them was the Prayers and Meditations collection of poems from the Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series (I believe that this volume is just called Prayers in the US). I am not a member of any church, but I find myself morphing from Jewish to Muslim, to Christian, to Buddhist while reading it. I can't seem to merely read prayers � or anything else � as an observer. When I watch my �La Femme Nikita� DVDs, I become Michael the spy. When I read Oscar Wilde, I become a Fl�neur, and the quips that burst forth from my mouth are astounding. I read Thoreau or Whitman, and I don't want to be inside. Is this a weakness? A sickness? A curse? A result of ADD? A lack of identity? Escape? Who knows? I am going to sit outside now and read some [become] Rimbaud.

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