“Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now “
– Bob Dylan, ‘My Back Pages’
An elderly gentleman sits on a park bench in the Auckland Domain, quietly reading a book and listening to something through his headphones.
He would pause from thumbing the pages and look up from time to time to gaze around at his fellow parkgoers; walkers and people watching the ducks at the adjacent pond.
Reading is a luxury to me in an oft time-cramped existence, but this fellow seemed to have all the time in the world to focus on his book.
Ironic, considering that he has, in all probability, less time left on this planet than me(that is no certainty however!).
I was slightly envious of his ability to immerse himself in his book and music, or whatever he was filling his ears with.
I wondered what he was reading – fiction or non-fiction; thriller, humour or biography?
To read is to be curious about life.
And I bet he had an interesting life story himself.
What might his back pages read like?
“So many books, so little time.”
– Frank Zappa
I really find it hard to imagine Zappa actually sitting down with a book given his massive, sprawling musical career, but he must have – how else to explain the inspirations behind the often surreal songs? Or maybe he was lamenting the fact that his creative endeavours meant he couldn’t read everything he wanted to.
I know the feeling – my bedside table has a stack of half-read tomes and the shelves have many others I have been meaning to read or re-read. Frustrating!
Last night watched an episode of the new series “Catch-22” and realized that it was over thirty years ago that I read the amazing book by Joseph Heller (I bet Zappa read it too), and I had always meant to pick it up again. Time flying by…
Yet I know that the time and energy spent reading a book that miraculously seems meant for me, is a luxury that a time-poor person finds rewarded .Even if it takes a while for me to get to the end, the journey of exploration through others’ words and worlds on the way there is nothing short of amazing.
I could extend that to blogs as well. So inspiring to see other writers and bloggers frame things I may not even have heard or thought of and give of themselves in the process.