There are two things bothering me about me that I’m currently trying to fix.
Throughout the past seven years of working jobs and having dispensable income, I’ve surely purchased more books than I have fully read in my entire lifetime. If anyone at home is doing the math, that means I haven’t kept up with reading all the books I’ve collected — not even close, in fact.
That’s the first of my annoyances. The second is far less materialistic in nature, although the two might be related. A peculiar attribute I’ve noticed about myself, (probably since I graduated from college two years ago), is that I have the vocabulary of a volcano; namely, I have a vast dormant vocabulary (words that I can read or hear and understand), yet only a very small active set of words that I can write, speak, or conjure at a moment’s notice.
The solution to both seems simple enough: read more.
Today, this began by me grabbing a heretofore untouched book from my poetry shelf, Theodore Roethke: Selected Poems (ed. Edward Hirsch). The American romantic poet of the title, as described in the book’s introduction, was known to refer to himself as a “perpetual beginner.” He always kept learning, forever in debt to the poets who laid a foundation before him (Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, John Keats, W.B. Yeats, and so on).
Two years removed from my college career, I’ve lost my edge for learning. What Roethke once called “a driving sincerity” for taking lessons from the greats, for me appears to be a remnant of a different phase of my life. But that’s not how it should be… right?
Semi-randomly choosing this Roethke anthology has proven to be an affirming place for me to start. One of his lifelong foci was self-discovery, and while I must disagree with some of his more metaphysical, Freudian conclusions, I can’t help but be inspired by this poet as he was constantly absorbed by two facts: “I and the Abyss.” Although at times his sentiments could seem clichéd (“Be sure that whatever you are is you”), there is a true earnestness to his sensual exploration for the self as he pondered, “We think by feeling…What is there to know? [I feel my being] dance from ear to ear.”
As I begin this journey to read more, learn again, and study all the great authors and poets whose books I’ve purchased over the years, I plan for this to coincide a reinvigorated practice of blogging daily, or as close to daily as I can afford. This way, I will be able to use the things I’ve learned, try out the ideas (or vocabulary?) I’ve encountered during the day, and begin conversations that could ideally lead us toward lives of acting out our knowledge in practical manners.
Are you with me?