Would you ever... do a reading fast?

San Francisco flowers

Have you ever done a reading fast? A friend and I were talking about reading the other day, and I mentioned that I was thinking of doing a week-long reading fast to break myself out of a rut. She thought I was nuts—most people are resolving to read more, and I'm talking about reading none? It may sound a little wonky, but hear me out! During college, I worked as a writing assistant to a woman who was wrapping up one novel, developing another, and crafting her children's novel alongside that. (She was a go-getter!) One of the creative experiments she'd run in her life was to take the occasional break from reading, and that included more than books. She strove to avoid more obvious things like magazines and newspapers, as well as outliers like billboards, labels, and the like. (This was before texting was a big deal, so I'm not sure how she handles that now...)

The idea behind cutting yourself off from reading is basically about honing your other senses. Just as your senses of hearing and smell will sharpen if you lost your sight, so will they when you stop filling your visual field with text. Basically, it's a practice of pulling yourself down from the clouds and grounding you more firmly in reality (think of it as a very, very light version of the journalism path that encourages young writers to get their hands dirty by witnessing the world, first-hand). I've been feeling tethered—no, anchored!—to books lately, to the point that I honestly feel like I'm missing out on life. (Really. Half my weekends go to hours upon hours of couch-laying reading marathons... nice if they're occasional, not so nice when it's gorgeous out and there's a whole city to explore!) Once I run through the remaining books I've checked out from the library (5 left), I'm going to take the plunge and take a week off reading. That'll have to exclude things like texts and emails, but will definitely include social media, books, and magazines. Honestly, I can't wait for a little more mental freedom and a little more present-tense experiences.

What do you think? Would you ever fast from reading? Have you ever done a reading fast?

comments powered by Disqus