“Reading deprivation casts us into our inner silence, a space some of us immediately begin to fill with new words—long, gossipy conversations, television bingeing, the radio as a constant chatty companion.”
–Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
Week Four had the regular insightful chapter and weekly tasks, but I think the most difficult and notable portion of the week (as I assume most people who have done the artist’s way would agree) was the challenge of reading deprivation. Cameron’s primary week four assignment was to not read. I don’t think anyone realizes how much you read until you aren’t theoretically allowed to. Granted, we all automatically read to a certain extent (traffic signs, labels, etc.) therefore, I don’t think I can be faulted too much for generally failing in that aspect.
I’m disappointed in myself this week. At the end of this challenge, I can’t say I passed. I tried, I did—but I didn’t try as hard as I could have. It wasn’t that I didn’t take the challenge seriously—I don’t know why exactly I failed or gave up. I do know I didn’t benefit as much from the assignment as it seems I should or could have. I did essentially stay off my blog and facebook—which was a struggle, since I seem to be completely addicted to both. I also remained off my email for the most part. On a couple of occasions, I did entirely forget to not read when that reading was routine at work or something. It wasn’t exactly the not reading where I feel I let myself down.
I don’t think I truly took advantage of the inner silence and free time available from not reading.
Since I’ve been covering the vacation of a fellow employee, I was steadily working more than usual, which has kept me occupied. The purpose of this exercise appears to be two-fold. First, not allowing myself to read emphasizes the amount of time I both intentionally and unintentionally spend (or waste on) reading—wandering through facebook, blogs, and various other useful and useless lands in the infinite world of the internet. I hadn’t realized I have such a tendency to bury myself in reading for distraction, (while waiting in a lobby, on the tube, at the office) instead of being present absorbing the moment.
“Without distractions, we are once again thrust into the sensory world. With no newspaper to shield us, a train becomes a viewing gallery.”
—Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
The second point of this exercise was to make use of this newly available time. I didn’t really do that. I can make excuses that I was working more than usual, or how I wanted to spend extra time with my husband before he left for training—but those are simply excuses. If I had made the more of an effort to utilize my not-reading-time, I could have.
“The nasty bottom line is this: sooner or later, if you are not reading, you will run out of work and be forced to play.”
–-Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way