In yesterday’s post, I left out a critical point about why I write everyday: it inspires me to read more, specifically fiction.
Reading puts me in a similar trance-like state to meditation. I’m not very good at allowing myself pit stops throughout the day: absorbed in a book, even for like 5-10mins, my cognitive world resets. When I’m reading a lot, I sleep better, feel less stressed, and generally feel better about myself and the world.
I think this is because imagining creates understanding, or at least helps it along. Putting ourselves in other people’s shoes grows our capacity for empathy. When lost in a great book, we’re interacting with the thoughts and feelings of others, getting down with characters’ longings and frustrations, guessing at their hidden motivations. We feel empathy for people we’ve never met, living lives we couldn’t possibly experience for ourselves, which is so self-evidently critical.
Life’s weird, and by using fiction, we can explore ideas of change, complex emotions, and the unknown, all while slurping down a Frappuccino.
Reading makes me happy. Here’re a few books I’m reading right now, if you’re curious:
The Sellout - Paul Beatty
Salvage the Bones - Jesmyn Ward
Tinkers - Paul Harding
Oh, and re-reading the Preacher graphic novels. Holy shit they're good. Vampires, the infant Anti-Christ, God going on walk-about and a hillbilly beating a Gorilla in a cage match. What more is there, really?