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  • Tracey Kelley

Making time for portable magic

Stephen King said, "Books are a uniquely portable magic." I've known this even before I read King (The Stand was my first, and I think I read it five times in my teen years. Mesmerizing!) and rarely am I without a book.

Problem is, I'm not reading as much as I used to.

Someone asked me recently how fast I read and how many books I consume in a month. It really just depends. Most of my leisure reading time is before I go to bed, so many factors play into selection, amount of time, and how hard I want to think. Sometimes I read a book in a couple of days. And then another one might take a few weeks.

I also discovered that what I'm writing or editing for business dictates much of what what I read for pleasure.

I feel a void. I make sure my purse is big enough for a literary paperback. I always have at least five books on the nightstand bookmarked at various stages. And my to-read stack is a deliberate tower by the living room couch, constructed with easily two dozen volumes, to keep it top-of-mind.

So what else cuts into my reading time? Social media, I would guess. Words with Friends. Movies. Socializing. My own writing. And actual work. The fact is, as much as I read, I don't make it a priority to do it more often, or for longer periods of time. As another saying reminds, "In order to say yes to your priorities, you have to be willing to say no to something else."

I miss book hangovers. You know the kind. The stories that keep you up late into the night, infiltrate your dreams, preoccupy your next few days. Before binge TV there was most definitely binge reading. I always loved that gronky feeling the following morning as the characters lingered, staggering party guests who forgot to leave.

In 1959, "The Twilight Zone" aired an episode called, "Time Enough at Last." Character Harold Bemis wants nothing more than to spend his days between the pages of a book. Everyday life interferes with this quest, until a disaster grants him to access to his deepest wish.

Or maybe not. It's "The Twilight Zone" after all.

The obvious answer to filling my void is simply adjust my priorities. Or sleep less.

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