Nearly every summer, Dan and I find ourselves in the bookstore in the high school summer reading section. You know--all those books you were supposed to read in AP English? We often tell each other what books that we've already read and then we'll spend a few minutes in that section, picking up books that we "ought" to read. But then we leave the store empty-handed. Not this year!
Inspired by a family of five I saw reading together on a blanket yesterday in the park and also in a full-out effort to learn from the greats as I try to become a real writer myself (7 days of writing so far), I am embarking on a summer filled with classics.
From now until Labor Day, I plan to:
Read 5 classic novels
Watch 5 classic movies
Listen to 5 classic rock albums
Why do I create homework for myself? Because I have been telling myself for years (read my diaries, I am serious!) that I am going to read more and watch more and listen to more and immerse myself in art. I know I have even written about such things in this very blog.
And well--I know this isn't very "artsy" of me. I am not very free-flowing. I am really good at following directions and rules. This is why I excel at work, school, running marathons, grammar. Tell me what to do and I can do it and I can do it well.
I've figured out this is how I am and so it's just up to me to write the rules myself ("Yes, it's perfectly acceptable to go on three-month vacations and take Fridays off from work and write every day and have a summer of classics.) For me, it's the only way that it will work.
Otherwise, I am just saying that I will do it and not doing it, and that is not what I really want. And I have been doing what I don't want for years, it seems.
P.S. I am trying to get Dan on-board with summer classic reading and he's still on the fence, afraid that he won't have time for The New Yorker--his favorite magazine. I just told him that he will have to spend less time with fantasy baseball and more time reading but he didn't like that one bit.