In response to last week’s post, several commenters quoted from Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress.” The poem
The phrase that’s stuck in a great many minds is “Had we but world enough, and time.” Oddly enough, I had been quoting another line from this same poem only the day before–“But at my back I always hear/Time’s winged chariot hurrying near”–while talking to someone, not about a life and death matter, but about the writing process. (Funnily enough, the first writing I ever got paid for was a catalog for an exhibition, It’s About Time. As you have probably guessed, being a sharp lot of readers, it was an exhibition of timepieces.)
Shortly after the amazing demonstration of my having not only learned something in college but remembered it, I encountered at a reception desk two people who’d recently discovered my books–thanks to my giving them signed cover flats for NOT QUITE A LADY, whether they wanted them or not.
Bless them, they went out and bought some of my books. One had proceeded directly from THE LION’S DAUGHTER to LORD PERFECT. The other sheepishly told me she hadn’t yet found time to start the book she had. I sympathized, telling her what an awful time I have making time for reading just for fun. My workday can start whenever, since I don’t have to punch a clock or be at an office at a certain time, but this also means it ends whenever, too, and that can be long after the rest of my time zone is in bed.
As comments to my last post indicated, a great many of us feel we haven’t nearly enough time to do all we want to do, let alone what we need to do.
OK, so maybe I’ll never speak Italian fluently. But what about reading? Making time for leisure reading–not research, not business–gets harder and harder. It takes me a couple of weeks these days to read one book, so I’m getting behinder and behinder on my TBR stacks.
My terrible confession: I read at mealtimes. I know it’s wrong but everyone’s entitled to at least one bad habit, and, I mean, it’s not like smoking crack. I’ve been reading at mealtimes for as long as I can remember, and luckily, married a man with the same bad habit. If I didn’t do my leisure reading then, when would I read? Bedtime doesn’t work because by the time I get to bed, my eyes won’t stay open for more than a paragraph, no matter how riveting the book. Unless I’m on vacation or sick with the right kind of ailment (many are not reading-in-bed-conducive), the TBR stack gets attacked in tiny increments.
The woman who’d rapidly proceeded to her second Loretta Chase book had a method, she told me: She reads two chapters every night, before she goes to bed.
One of my sisters says that after dinner, she ignores the housework calling to her and sits down with a book. She reads at least half a dozen books a week.
I know some people read in the bathtub but this is an art I’ve never mastered. How do you keep your hands dry so you can turn the pages? And where do you find time for a leisurely bath in the first place?
Yes, it’s about time, always about time.
Tick, tick, tick. Where do you find the time for your reading? How do you make the time? Do you have a system, or is it catch as catch can?