Monday, September 16, 2013

Words of Wisdom from Nora Ephron

I have often struggled to properly express what reading means for me and my life. It's not that I feel ostracized by my love of reading, but when I attempt to explain to someone why I find such joy in it, I fail. Sure, my close friends and family understand because they actively see my reading. But new acquaintances and strangers on planes peer at me with mild interest, as if I'm telling them I like to play squash on weekends at the club.

Reading is so much more than a hobby. A hobby is something with an end-product, with an expiration date. Hobbies can come and go, they can wane like the moon. For a true reader, there will never be hiatuses or off-seasons, because to experience a time such as this would be like suddenly developing asthma in adulthood. After years of gulping down air you'd be taken aback by your shortness of breath and inability to make it painlessly up a tall flight of stairs. 

Finally though, I have found a passage which poetically and perfectly expresses how essential reading is. Enter, stage left, Nora Ephron. I picked up a copy of I Feel Bad About My Neck, and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, a collection of essays published in 2006, this weekend and boy did it speak to me. 

"Reading is everything. Reading is one of the main things I do. Reading makes me feel I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss."  

Add this excerpt to the list of reasons Nora Ephron was amazing. Perhaps this doesn't make sense to you, perhaps you think the amount of reading I do borders on crazy, but it would have made sense to Nora. 

*Ephron, Nora. I Feel Bad About My Neck, and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006. 

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