2.29.2020 – Reading Anxiety

Reading Anxiety
excessive interest
Bound box of Moonlight

I suffer from reading anxiety.

Abibliophobia.

Maybe it is a made up but it fits.

The fear of being stuck, somewhere, some place, with nothing to read.

When I was a kid I had this green metal case about the size of a small typewriter case.

When we went on family trips I would stare at my piles of books and carefully assemble a travel library.

This was harder than it sounds as I also had to predict what book I MIGHT want to read.

I did this whether it was a day trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes or a 10 day odyssey to Washington DC.

I never went anywhere without something to read.

The invention of the Kindle, the iPhone and the iPad would seem to be the answer.

Instead my anxity has new manifestations.

Now almost any and every book is just a few clicks away.

What I am missing?

What MIGHT I BE missing.

Maybe someone has a phrase or description or combination of words that, well, will not change my life, but my life might be somewhat less if I never read it.

Hemingway’s description of setting up camp in Michigan’s Upper Pinnesula in the short story, “Big Two Hearted River.”

I love those paragraphs.

Maybe it is the memory of where or how I read and re-read those paragraphs.

I remember reading some of The Nick Adams stories to my son’s Frank and Luke as bedtime tales.

After the scene with the camp, Frank says to me, “Dad, Nick needs a camper.”

I have what might be called excessive interestingness.

I stole those words from a review of the acting of Sam Rockwell for his role in Ridley Scott’s Matchstick Men (2003).

Excessive interest.

Interested in everything.

My dear wife has to pay the price as she never knows when I will set down my book, kindle, iPad or Iphone and say, “I can’t believe it. I was taught that FDR first said ‘Unconditional Surrender’ at the spur of moment at Casablance in 1943 and this book shows that he was thinking of it in early 1942.”

Mr. Thurber writes in “Back Home Again” about making table conversation out of odd facts, “I don’t know what my table companion could reply to this, beyond a polite ‘Indeed’ or an impolite ‘So what?’”

But my wife listens.

I go on and on.

I can’t help myself.

Books and books and more books.

Each one a mystery.

Each one filled with new things and never emptied.

Bound boxes of moonlight.

I feel better knowing I have one nearby.

Books, of course.

And my wife.

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