On Reading and Writing
Last semester was characterized by an exorbitant amount of writing: paper upon report upon essay. Those finite moments of potential social interaction that I glimpsed last semester were negated by this simple fact: I cannot write surrounded by noise. No music, no talking. I whisper to myself as my fingers flit across the keyboard, clickclickickclick, but--heaven forbid--someone else speak or sing! At the spark of conversation, all my writing effort come to a halt and I am thoroughly distracted. Flannery O'Conner must have had a similar problem, for she placed her desk flush against the back of her wardrobe in the upstairs bedroom of her farmhouse. No writing and looking at the window...no noise...pure attention to detail and the delicate art of the composition of the grotesque. Virginia Woolf would say that we all need a A Room of Our Own in order to properly write, be it papers, reports, essays or novels.
This semester, however, I hardly have cause to write at all; this semester, I read.
Last week I read The Abolition of Man, A Room of One's Own and Wise Blood. This weed I am working on the collection of A Good Man is Hard to Find stories, The Four Loves and Emma. Reading I can do anywhere...And so over the past six weeks, I have formed the habit of frequenting the local Coffee and Tea and shop. Curled up in a corner armchair, atop a stool at the coffee bar or bent over a table by the window, I sip pots of tea--splurging occasionally on a latte--with pencil in hand, reading, underlining, and reading some more. The music playing through the sound system changes as shifts end and one barista is replaced by another, but still, I read on. Friends stop by to say hello, I look up form my book, we chat and sometimes I share my pot of Mango Ceylon tea. Beaver Falls is dreary in January and almost worse in February. Coffee Shop socialization and good books turn grey skies into something almost-cozy and homework into something rather pleasant.