So I've been dancing around the idea of posting this confession for a month or two now. At first I thought I might just post it as a status update on Facebook, and then I avoided even that. Then I had to admit that there was enough to explain that I might as well make a blog post out of it.
So here it is...my shameful admission.
I am a bibliophile.
Wait...there's more. If that was the end of the confession, I'd be proud, not shameful. Here we go...
I am a bibliophile who no longer reads.
And that sentence was pretty darn hard to type. But it's time I admit that it's true. I was the little girl who took a book out to recess and sat under a tree. I was the high school Junior showing off my doorstop of a tome (To Green Angel Tower, 1104 pages) in the lunch cafeteria. For goodness sake, I'm currently the 33 year-old who has worked in her dream job in a library for 11 years now. And yet I have to admit that my reading habits have sunk from bad to shameful over the last year or two.
I can blame social media. It used to be that I would carry a book with me wherever I went. Trip to the gas station? I had to have my book. Trip to an amusement park? Tuck a book away just in case. My rule of thumb for finding a new purse was "could I tuck a paperback in here and still have room for my other necessities?" Then a handful of years ago I got my first laptop computer. And then a little over a year ago I got my iPad. Now, the iPad goes with me wherever I go, tucked in the pocket of my car. And the silly thing is...I hate reading books digitally (I'm old-fashioned that way) so I no longer have a book with me at all, in any format. My husband told me how sad he was to see me stop my habit, but I didn't pick it back up.
I can blame social media, but I won't. Because yes, it is a distraction, but it's my willpower that is to blame. I still check out books from the library, I do. But when I sit to read them, I stop every few paragraphs to tap on the Facebook app on the iPad. I click on Pinterest on my laptop to see what gorgeous images my friends have shared. The internet is a source of such aesthetic beauty for someone who thrives on enchantment and fantasy. And it's a place to communicate with kindred spirits I never thought I'd find...not only new friends, but many of the actual authors and illustrators of the books that so shaped me during my formative years are now conversing with me through the miracle of the internet.
But I don't get lost in books like I used to. Oh, occasionally a book will cross my path that proves to be the exception to this new and very sad rule. I devoured Carolyn Turgeon's The Fairest of Them All as fast as I could read it, and did nothing else for days, for instance. But more and more I stare guiltily at the book on my nightstand as I curl up under the tent of my blanket fort before bed and watch another episode of Ghost Whisperer on my Netflix app. I just can't seem to find the escape in most books that used to come so easily to me.
And I miss it. Boy, do I miss it. I'm so pleased with all the creative outlets I have in my life now, through creative interior decorating, blogging, magazine contributions, fine-art, and modeling for fine-art photographers. I've built up a wonderful network of amazingly talented and creative souls. But I miss that feeling of forgetting all about the real world for a little while, and getting lost in the pages of a book that seems more real than real.
I don't honestly know what the solution is. Perhaps I need to force myself back into good old habits. Maybe I need to pick up an old favorite or two and try to re-read them again. All I know is that the book that has sat on my end table for the last month is 175 pages long, and I'm on page 30. And that may just be the final straw for this bibliophile to take.