A feature on the Baltimore City Paper tells us why What We Pore Over At 12 May Be The Most Important Reading We Ever Do. This rings true, in my case.
It’s not just that these books, unlike adult literature, have been left unsullied by professors turning them into objects of tedious study. We love these books, dearly and uncritically, the way we love the smell of our first girlfriend’s perfume, no matter how cheap or tacky it might have been.
My fondness for reading books has somewhat been dulled by the fact that when one grows up, goes to work for a living, and supports a growing family, other things take precedence. Books become objects of leisure. You only get to spend time with them once every so often. Gone are the days when you can spend summer vacations finishing a novel or two or three. And then of course there are the books assigned as school reading. At school, I had to force myself to start reading stories like Lowry’s The Giver and Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. I eventually grew fond of them. Being required reading sort of takes the fun out of it! But in the end, these pieces of literature have found their way into my persona (perhaps it’s why I’m so rebellious, a la Holden Caulfield).
These, among others, are the very same books that I just picked up again a few weeks back. I find myself reading through them with a different perspective, and with a different depth of understanding. Somehow ten, twelve, fifteen years or so after you first read something, the words re-read stir up in you memories of younger days. Better days, perhaps? Or maybe simply that–fond memories of days before when the world was younger, and so were you.
Sometimes I wonder if these same feelings are evoked when one reads old blog posts. In my case, I sometimes wade through my several years’ worth of blog archives, dating back to 2004. Looking back at how I wrote back then, and how I thought back then, and the situations I found myself in brings back memories and feelings. Some are happy. Some are painful. All of them good, in a way, because it is these experiences that shape what we are right now.
Do you find yourself wading through your blog post archives and feeling the same way? If blog posts and lifestreams could be streams of history for the world then these would also make for excellent streams of history for one person. With much optimism, I would say that looking back at these tidbits of personal history should help shape us into better persons in the present.
I know exactly how you feel J. I have a text file archive of blog posts I published on a service I used a few years ago. The text file is all I have left from my early days of blogging. Every now and then I take a look through the archive and sometimes, I can remember exactly what I was doing when I wrote the post. Sometimes recalling detailed specifics of the atmosphere surrounding the post. Perhaps I’m weird?
At any rate, I take things one step further by taking a trip through the Wayback Machine or, the Internet Archive. Not only do you get to see text from the past, but sometimes designs from the past as well.
Unfortunately, my library of books is growing but time to read them is shrinking or non existent. I keep telling myself that there is a wealth of knowledge on the book shelf and it would do me well to put that knowledge to good use or at least, put that knowledge into my head but for the life of me, I can’t find the time to read. I can’t even force myself to read one chapter a night.