50 POSTS LATER, I HATED IT
There are more things to being a reader than just books.
Uhmm wait…where did that come from?
Recently (by that I mean months ago), I received a notice from WordPress that I’ve reached my 50th post milestone. It’s probably a big deal. I started blogging about books last March (I don’t tire of reminding everyone about this!) and I’ve sustained writing for months now even while holding a demanding day job. I was writing another self congratulatory post – about how I overcame life’s travails just to read and write for this blog. I was thanking people for following and reading my site while confessing how writing about books has been nothing but fun. But 400 words later, I hated it. It doesn’t feel true. It sounds stupid.
I only blog whenever I felt like it as most bloggers do to be honest. There was no grand scheme here. If you read this blog’s About Page before, that’s exactly what it said. For a while that was enough. It kept my conscience quiet. No commitments and no pressures.
But when I think about the time and energy I put on some of my advertising projects, I despair. I work for big companies and I always give my everything, including some shred of my humanity just to sell things I don’t really care about. To do that every single day sucks away authenticity. The worse thing is, I’m getting good. If I kept at it, I’ll wake up one day to the horror that I’ve become hollow. It pains me to admit my dark views about the advertising industry but I think any self respecting creative out there, in order to keep themselves sharp has to see the whole hypocrisy as it is. A little cynicism is healthy.
And so I find myself, 50 posts later, not really knowing what to do to stop feeling so wrong. I shelved that stupid congratulatory post and wandered for days. Life kept happening. More projects came in plus the freak fever that is Christmas where agencies would like to throw in their last million budget for the consumer spending spree to be perpetrated before the holidays. Even as I write this I’m in the middle of moving houses.
My dissatisfaction, I realised boils down to the narrow parameters I’ve set out to present in this blog. I don’t just like to review or recommend books. I like to discuss themes and ideas. I like to draw the connections between fiction and nonfiction, about the relevance of science and history in enriching the reading experience. There’s just no point in categorising literature into genres. I feel like an explorer whose only task is putting numbers on specimens instead of actually discovering live exotic beasts still unnamed.
I propose to attempt what Douglas Hofstadter did in his breakthrough Godel, Escher, Bach. It was the marriage of mind science, mathematics and music. Different disciplines that explains the miracle of consciousness. I won’t pretend to have finished that book, it was impossible for a layman like myself who never really had the patience for mathematics, but I have developed appreciation on that once reviled subject. I guess that’s the word we’re looking for here. To read is nothing more than to appreciate the different things that makes this life worthwhile. It doesn’t matter if one learns about the romance of justice from the Sherlock Holmes stories. Or that you appreciate the complexity of creation through the expositions of Richard Dawkins. It doesn’t even matter if your sense of humour includes a character named Death who reaps the souls of every living thing. Or finding beauty in the bizarre lives of others.
So I hope my followers won’t mind if you see more unexpected posts here and there. Frankly I still don’t know what to do here.