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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Oblivion: End of the ban.

"Face your fears! You know you shouldn't look, but you won't be able to stop yourself taking a peek at the colossal vertical drop".

The reading ban is over. It has been over for three and a half days now so I feel I owe myself this post. Something I would like to begin with is that the fact of not being able to read didn't necessarily give me more time. Still in the office for most of the day + 3 hour travelling time each day don't allow too much spare time anyway. Was it worth it? Well, YES. In a strange way.

First feeling: Oblivion. Exactly like the ride (: the build-up (OMG, OMG); the anger (I really don't want to do this, why am I still here?); the fear (What will I do?); the increased anxiety levels (where do these voices come from now? Have they always been there?). I need to say I have experienced both 'Oblivions', the metaphorical and the physical ride (Thanks R, R and Zafron), and they have LOADS IN COMMON.

First question: Why do I read?

  1. Refuge
  2. To stop time
  3. Pleasure
  4. Being transported to a different reality
  5. Research
  6. Information
  7. Communication
  8. To stop doing chores
  9. To stop other activities that, although I want to do them, they ask for greater effort (i.e writing)
  10. Learn

Consequences of the ban:

  1. Many, many unexpected thoughts. Anxiety.
  2. Thoughts would create chaos around my life and the tiniest decision.
  3. Thoughts couldn't be quiet. I had to isolate them and deal with them separately. That took time and effort.
  4. When I was too tired to do anything else, I had to try very hard to avoid TV. I was bored, something I hadn't experienced in a long time.
  5. Isolation. Most of communication exchanges happen via electronic devises nowadays: e.mail, blogs, texts. Personal and social isolation (I tend to read news rather than watch news, especially because I can select what I want to know about. On TV or radio somebody decides for me what I should know).
  6. Disruption of night ritual.

What I got out of it:

  1. I tidied up the house and the office.
  2. I tidied up my head (dealt with thoughts I hadn't before)
  3. I went straight into writing when I had to.
  4. I experienced a different way of creativity. Something less artistic and more embeded in everyday life: cooking, food shopping, yoga series, clothing, writing, advice given to others.

Some of the main benefits I have taken out of it are

  1. Awareness of how I distribute my time during the day.
  2. Awareness of why I read and decision of keeping reading but only for the right reasons.
  3. Awareness of having to find a balance in my life by deciding the time I allocate to the activities which are important to me.
  4. Need for a reading-writing balance.
  5. VERY IMPORTANT: Need for empty time to allow creativity to emerge and deal with inner thoughts.
  6. In LIFE, like on Oblivion, even after taking a peek at the colossal vertical drop, you only have three things left to do: breath, relax and enjoy the ride.


Ana y Rui said...

Jo, ahora que lo dices yo no podría estar sin leer. Me siento totalmente identificada con todos las aplicaciones prácticas que has mencionado y no sé cómo has aguantado! Me encantó lo de breathe, relax and enjoy the ride. A veces va bien no comerse el tarro demasiado y simplemente vivir, que ya es mucho:-) XX

Vienna said...

¿Viste el video? ¡Ahí estaba yo el lunes!

Revisionista said...

Hey Vienna!

Thanks for the firecracker hot response you left on my blog this morning!

I'm dropping off some virtual matches & gasoline for you to play with this morning. :)

Set your house on fire, girl! I can't wait to see what sort phoenix rises up :)

City Girl said...

I love this post - I didnt realize you had a 3 hour rountrip commute every day - when I did the reading ban I had about a 30-40 commute each way and that was when I missed reading the most, you know?

Thank you for all your comments on my blog. I so appreciate them :) I am so glad I was able to introduce you to SWIM - it's really been lovely over there, hasn't it? I am very grateful for our virtual connection via our blogs :)

Georgie said...

Well, what an enlightening vicarious experience! I might have to try a week off reading myself... although, I must admit, I really don't want to. You're so right that, even more than being a useful tool for work and education, reading is an escape. If and when I pluck up the courage to try a ban, I'll let you know :-)