You know those folks who don’t like various foods touching on their plates? I am not one of those – unless something is put there I know I don’t like. It gets covered with bread, which doesn’t like me, and disappears from thought and fork. Some flavors are enhanced by inadvertent mixing of ingredients – that’s my experience so I don’t fret when they mingle.
There are readers like those picky eaters, those who read only one book at a time so characters and plots don’t have a chance to get tangled in the gray matter. I am not one of those, either, though I started my reading life that way, zipping through each book in a library section then figuring out how to get to a different library to devour the hopefully new tweenage selections on those shelves. By foot or by bike or by whines for Dad to take me, I got there. I think it was the astronomical reading assignments in vastly different content areas in high school and college that altered that for me. Sadly, back then I didn’t see the magical interconnections, the secret-spilling patterns, the messages intended just for me in my journey. I compartmentalized for deadlines and tests.
These days I stumble on connections and patterns without the pressure of finishing chapters, writing papers and taking exams. The inadvertent mixing of subjects and styles enhances my reading adventures. It’s exciting to uncover buried treasures – insights that either sit quietly till I notice or kick me in the derrière to get my immediate attention – from vastly different genres. How can reading my very first John Grisham novel along with a guide on prayer by St. Ignatius, a neuroscientist’s glimpse into awesome mind/brain research, a scientific look at perfect timing and a weekly blog share anything significant? I don’t understand the HOW of it, but, WOW! Do they ever! To deepen the intrigue, were another to read those exact same books, different connections and meanings would be revealed. Readers glean based on their individually unique thought processes and experiences.
I like this quote attributed to Will and Ariel Durant. “The only real revolution is in the enlightenment of the mind and the improvement of character, the only real emancipation is individual, and the only real revolutionists are philosophers and saints.”