The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
—Henry David Thoreau (Walden, 1854)
I am thinking this evening about quiet desperation. My feeling tonight is not quiet, but angry and restless and relentless desperation.
—written by me, on Sept. 24, 2009
This past Thursday evening, I slid into a terrible dark mood. I wrote a blog, then stopped just before wrapping it up, and instead of posting it, I e-mailed it to my friend Marie, the author of the blog sweetness, sweetness. I told her it was a “long rambling angry swearing miserable blog” before pasting it below my message, giving her fair warning if she wanted to put off reading it until another time. (She’s a good friend; she DID read it, and sent a supportive reply on Friday. Thank you again, Marie!)
Although Friday was a good day at work, and early Friday evening was tentative but much improved over Thursday, I didn’t really feel GOOD until after I’d finished writing my review of Daphne, my latest score from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to really do a good review. It was a brand new trade paperback, priced at $15.00, and I got it for FREE, and it was a great read! So I felt this responsibility to “get it right.” And, I should have written it last weekend, since I’d taken Friday off. It was hanging over me, and I felt physical and mental relief when I finished it and posted it last night.
I had this idea last night that for me, reading, and sometimes writing, are as necessary to my health and well-being as breathing. In a way, that’s obviously not true, or a wild exaggeration, because breathing is something we do constantly, but reading and writing CAN’T be done constantly, even if we include THINKING about books and reading and writing. I realize they’re not comparable in a real and logical way.
Perhaps for me, and other word lovers, we might compare it to a vitamin deficiency. If a person doesn’t get enough of a particular vitamin or mineral, it can have quite an adverse effect on one’s health. For me, reading is like that. If I could have an allotment of TIME, along with peace and quiet and as few interruptions as possible, to just read good books, I’d probably be a happier person. I don’t write nearly as often as I did in my teen years, but once in a while, the need to write strikes me, and I truly feel it as a NEED, and I can’t regain normalcy, or any sense of equilibrium (whatever that might mean in my case), until the need is met, until I get it “written out of me.” So I bark and snarl at all who keep me from it, or interrupt me before I’ve finished — as though I were a starving dog searching the trash outside a restaurant. If I’m writing, or starving to write, don’t mess with me, because I WILL bite you.
For now, between last night’s work and this post, I AM all written out, finally relaxed, and ready to begin the weekend. I will go for a walk, start my next audiobook, and feel some level of peace.