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10 April 2001

I Should Be Reading

Time remains the enemy. . . .

I had a long, wide-ranging conversation with a friend at work today. We were both lamenting the fact that we don't read any more. Not reading articles off the net, or out of magazines, but really read, like I did as a student. The little reading group sort of petered out after the Kaplan book about a year ago, and I haven't managed the energy to resurrect it. I'm not sure what to do about this. *sigh*

Dr. Lence, the best damn teacher I've ever been around, once made the comment that after reading Locke several hundred times (I'm not exaggerating), he thought he finally had something to write about. Lence is one of those strange creatures who has published very little, yet managed to get tenure in a serious, research-oriented graduate department solely on the strength of his teaching. I didn't fully understand his comment when he made it -- I was still a student, after all, with all the free time one could ever want -- but it really is true that if one is writing (whether it's at work, or on a webpage, or answering emails, or whatever), one isn't reading and, in a sense, furthering one's knowledge.

Like I said, time remains the enemy. And that is one of the reasons I cut my sleep down to six hours a few years ago, in an attempt to reclaim some of that time.

* * * *

It is interesting to me that some people use their online journals to level personal criticism (instead of, say, a private email). I'm not criticizing this practice, and I can certainly understand not wanting to waste high quality writing, but it's completely the opposite of my own personal style. I try to avoid direct personal criticism in my journal (public figures are fair game), although sometimes I will use the internet writings of others as a takeoff point for my own writing. Several months ago, I was amused to find that some oaf had stumbled onto this website, spent at least 30 seconds creating a strawman of the website and me, and then spent gawd knows how long knocking down that straw man in a journal entry, almost begging me to send him hate mail. Instead, I sent him an email thanking him for visiting the site, asking him to reconsider the writing here, and complimenting him as a fairly talented, if somewhat misguided, writer (which was true -- the guy could write, although he was WAY too cynical for my taste). But I guess he thought we could have a nasty little flame war or somehow we could get our regular readers going back and forth or .... something. Or maybe he was just bored, being fresh out of college, unemployed, and living with his parents. Whatever the case, I just don't understand that sort of thing. I would rather find the positives in people and try to draw those out and cultivate them. What is the motivation of those whose attitude seems exactly the opposite?

[Posted @ 09:35 PM CST]

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