“For, what, two years I wrote an essay about nearly every book I read and I posted it on my Tumblr: Literary Bex. I loved everything about writing those essays. They ranged from pure reader/response pieces to analytical. I ranted about books I read, and I raved; I poured my heart out, and I remained incredibly reserved. Sometimes I had a bone to pick with the writer over nit-picky things like character development or more basic writing skills like grammar. In 2013 I’ve written two essays. I’ve read more than two books this year, but I only felt like I needed to write two essays, and they were back in February when life was amazingly, and stupidly, and unnecessarily rough. But the rest of the year I haven’t needed this blog the way I have in the past.”
This is how I started my first essay for Literary Bex, the Tumblr, in nine months (it’ll be posted Friday 11/22 at 12 pm Eastern). I wrote a grand total of two essays back in February and then I stopped. On the one hand it may have been because I started working in March and didn’t stop until August. Even then I was only taking a three week break between jobs, during which I traveled and slept on a beach. I started working in September and only last week stopped again. Because I lead the life of a seasonal worker.
This is the cold truth, is it not? I only seem to blog with any seriousness when I am not employed. As if these blogs are filling the time I, the rest of the year, spend running around with my students and campers teaching them stuff. I work amazingly long days when I’m employed and have minimal time and energy to spend reading. Even less energy to write anything about them. On my days off this summer (weekends) I spent most of my time reading, watching Netflix, and making bracelets. I wasn’t interested in writing about what I had read: I was reading to keep my mind from turning to mush as I spent most of my time trekking about the Connecticut woods with eight to twelve year-olds (the rest of my time was spent dispensing words of wisdom – gleaned from all my years of living – to my 18 to 22 year old coworkers). Reading something not about sex-lives or bugs was a mental necessity.
I didn’t need the blogs. I didn’t need to sit down and write about the things I was thinking. I needed to relish in the delight of reading this year. I didn’t need to analyze what I was reading. I didn’t need others to read about what I think about what I’ve read. I didn’t need the internet.
And, it was nice. It was nice to read without feeling like I needed to think about it.
I started Literary Bex, the Tumblr, because I needed it at the time. I needed occupation. I was unemployed, living with my sister’s family outside Boston, and I was reading… a lot. I read so many books that winter it was ridiculous. I had so many thoughts and I missed writing essays about what I was reading. So I started writing essays about what I was reading. I wrote essays about books, plays, novellas, graphic novels, short stories, comic strips, TV shows… I wrote essays about so many forms of storytelling; every kind of story I was absorbing, I was writing about it. I needed it.
This year I didn’t.
I might, and I probably will, again need to write these essays with the same regularity, but for now I am all set. I’m still happy to discuss, answer questions, engage in discourse about books I have read; but the need to analyze is minimal at the moment. Please, if you want to discuss books, I am here. Otherwise, happy reading.