Another one from Miranda Lehman (see link in post below)
The final volume of Proust's Recherche has been sitting on my table for some time now, the bookmark lodged at the 80-page mark. I keep coming back to it, reading for a bit, and putting it down, unable to find myself in the frame of mind that makes Proust delightful.
I used to liken it to being in an underwater cave, surrounded by words, dripping with description and image, and vibrating with the life he brought out of situations. I loved to sit in my chair with the sunlight on me and just savor the sensory experience of reading his passages.
V. Woolf had that effect too, so I re-read Orlando. No luck. So I turned to something a bit different and re-read Calvino's Mr. Palomar, and after the third failed attempt to reach reading bliss I figured out what the problem is--I'm no longer having a conversation with the pages I read.
There used to be a double conversation which would take place: the internal one, reader to written word, and an external one, reader to memory of other written words and other thoughts. The second conversation would lead me to pick up new volumes, return to old volumes, and basically fuel my reading pattern. I would discover new writers and obscure texts and love them. The best thing about it was that the process felt entirely organic--a series of steppingstones. But it's not working anymore and I want to fix that.
I think I have a bit of nomadic blood in me and need to be always moving and experiencing something new. I need the jolt of strange to help keep me engaged and interested. It's not official yet, but I'm planning on relocating to Charleston, SC this summer, to spend a year enjoying a completely different environment, to have fun with a great group of people that are currently living there, and to get myself into a PhD program.
This plan makes me very excited!