My posting frequency is down. It's true, I've been struggling with this blog a little bit lately. Maybe it's the lingering gloomy weather. Maybe it's my impending forty-(cough cough) birthday, or my baby's kindergarten registration. I don't know.
I feel like I'm coming to one of life's crossroads. One of those times when you question whether you're doing it right, you know? Wasn't I supposed to be a CEO by now? Or at least a VP of something? Shouldn't I have an expense account? Maybe a jetpack?
And my kids. Am I doing a good job parenting them? I mean, I think I'm doing a pretty good job. But am I doing the best I can? Shouldn't I be doing more flash-card oriented games, and planning more culturally-enriched outings? Why is Spongebob such an integral part of our family?
I struggle. Most of the time, I think I'm doing OK, but you know what? I could probably do more. Do better.
And when I think about all the things in my life that I could change, it occurs to me that one avenue of personal enrichment would be to reach for better in my personal reading. Perhaps all that potential that my teachers talked about when I was my kids' age has been siphoned off into frivolty. Into literature that doesn't matter. Literature that's fun. How can that be good for me?
There's no gain without pain, right? If I want to stretch my brainpower, I should be reading Proust and Tolstoi, right?
Perhaps the romance critics are right, though it pains me to say it. I can blame everything that's wrong with my life on the unreasonable expectations I've had -- Jayne Ann Krentz, where's my mogul? Christina Skye, I'm waiting for that Special Ops guy to fall through my roof, put me in grave danger, and then rescue me from it! (or, wait, do I really want that?) Nora Roberts, where's my quiet but damaged rock of a man, whose only redemption lies in my love? Dammit, JR Ward, WHERE'S MY HOTT ANGSTY VAMPIRE??
Clearly, the only solution is to give up romance and fantasy novels and read classic, somber literary works. Books that take weeks to finish. Books that end in death and despair. Books that cast a jaded and ironic eye on the notion of "happiness." Books that really hurt if you drop them on your foot. And smell musty.
These are the kind of books that will lower my expectations from life. After a steady diet of Thomas Hardy, Dostoyevsky and Gabriel García Márquez, spending a cold rainy weekend camping out with 120 Girl Scouts will look pretty good. Milton and Bronte will make my cubicle feel like paradise in comparison. A little Nietzche and Sartre will... well, they'd probably make me want to slit my wrists, so maybe I'll hold off on those.
It's time to put away childish things; time to be not a child in understanding. It's time to end my shallow, superficial relationship with genre fiction and reach to be a better, smarter, more serious and more fully realized human being, through better, smarter, and more serious reading.
I'm going to need a new blog name. Classic Heroes? Alpha Classics? I could use some ideas.