Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Starving Artist, Reader, Writer, Poet

The Poor Poet by Carl Spitzweg

I think this is a really funny picture, because although I look nothing like the character portrayed in this picture, this could be a scene taken from my life. Well not the part about sitting under an umbrella attached to the ceiling. What is that supposed to be some kind of protection from a leaky roof? That's funny, it definitely gives some extra character to the picture though. Kind of gives you the impression like they would be equally at home camped out on a park bench somewhere, with their pile of books next to them sheltered from the rain under their trusty umbrella.

But the similarity I see between myself and this picture, is mostly the part about lying in bed next to a pile of books, taking notes, or writing something of my own after being inspired by something I've recently read, and having my books close at hand for quick reference and inspiration.

I like books, not all books, but great books, books that I learn something from, that I find interesting, inspiring, and thought provoking. I like learning things and reading is a great way to learn. It's also an extremely convenient and affordable habit to get into. And if you are really eager to learn, who better to learn from then from the greatest minds that have ever lived?

Books give you that opportunity, to learn from the greatest, the smartest, the most successful and knowledgeable experts in any field. Where else would you get that opportunity in such a great wealth and abundance, if not for books? You most likely wouldn't. Therefore reading is a very special privilege, but unfortunately it is a privilege that very few people take advantage of as adults. At least according to statistics, where it says that very few Americans actually read books once their out of school.

But what does this mean, that most people stop learning as soon as they stop going to school? Or is that they become so preoccupied with other aspects of their lives, like working and socializing or raising a family, that they lose interest in learning? Or could it be that they put more of an emphasis on different methods of learning, like learning through direct experience and personal observation, the kind of learning that comes simply from living life?

Certainly there is no substitute for real world experience, but books I think when used as a supplement to learning through direct experience, are an extremely valuable source of solidified knowledge, a very concentrated food for thought, that once it is thoroughly absorbed and digested, becomes a part of you. And so when you read books written by the most intelligent and most knowledgeable people in the world that have ever lived to record their thoughts, some of their knowledge is imparted to you, where you now get to know some of what they knew, and without books that likely would not happen. How great is that? I say that's really great.

So where does that leave me? I need time to read. I cannot be working all the time, so that I do not have time to read. Therefore, if it means being a poor starving reader, to fund the time to read, so be it. Just like the starving artist, who hopes to one day create a masterpiece that will finally pay off and put an end to their starvation, one of these days I'm sure my reading habits will pay off too.

No comments: