Let me share some thoughts on my personal experience with reading and writing.
I don't think I can ever divorce myself from these two “boring” words, "reading" and "writing". Reading has already become part of my habit to balance my thoughts between truths and lies before I write. Reading helps a lot in opening my mind and heart to write anything under the shining sun and glittering moon. It even strengthens my love to my left, my right, my front and my back - my environment surrounding me. In Malaysia, the citizens are very fortunate that they are supported and urged to read and buy books. The government even exempts them from paying taxes if they buy books.
When I was a child and only beginning to get familiar with alphabets and letters, I’d read for hours, unaware that what I was doing was really reading. I started when I was three to four years old. I just read letters like they’re abstract objects. I didn’t bother to understand what they were. Later I began to take interest in the things I read. I read books, magazines, newspapers, anything I could get my hands on.
It felt gratifying, discovering things in the process. I found out how powerful reading is and eventually it became part of my personal culture. I became aware that reading is good. I became addicted to it. I was very careful though. I was afraid that I would fall into a trap of false knowledge and lies because I used to hear people say, “If you read, read the books on morality or those that connect you to your God”.
My way to counter boredom, I kept on reading and reading. Reading helped me weigh which one is heavy, which one is light. It also taught me to understand truths from lies, facts that are not true from truth that are not facts. Little did I know reading is not only a skill or an act of going through pages of newspapers and books, silently or aloud, but also something that needs interpretation, understanding, explanation, and analysis.
Reading is boring. I know it. And books are boring if I don’t read, even just a word. It’s the same thing as writing. Writing is difficult if I don’t start writing even a single incomplete sentence or scribbling or creating asemic writing in my notebook. But it’s just how it is. What I do, I connect my reading with my writing. If I don’t read, I will just be going round and round, unable to come up with anything sensible when I write.
I agree that reading is something that fights boredom, although, I too do believe that it could be boring depending on how I deal with it. “Reading is boring” is a phrase that agitates my mind and disturbs my brain cells. Reading was not part of my culture back then. I read only because I needed to read to prepare for exams at school. In our family, I was taught “to study”, never “to read”. I didn’t realize studying involves a lot of reading.
I treat reading and books as well as writing as my friends because it is through them that I can meet friends who may never be known to me. Those friends may not always be persons but also things and concepts I can talk to. When I am reading a book, it’s not me who is talking. It’s the book who is talking to me and it becomes the channel by which the author communicates with me, sharing knowledge through the pages I read.
Because I read today, I learned about my life, my language, my friends, my loved ones, my peace, even about my boredom. I have no reason not to read. The word “boring” is a very boring word. It’s the enemy of our souls and it kills the desire to learn and explore. I can even visit places without physically being there through reading.
Thank you so much for listening to this “boring” sharing. God bless us all!