After I did my post on reading the other day, Michael Johnson and Oz Fritz both responded with comments. Michael talked about his addiction to reading and Oz discussed his own reading style. I appreciated them both weighing in.
Michael writes that he is "obviously addicted to reading" and I think the addiction model of reading is rather undersold. I guess the addiction is more like being a sports addict than a drug addict — you don't see many news stories about people being found dead with reading paraphernalia nearby — but I know that I'm a reading addict. I have to do at least a little bit of book reading every day or I'm not going to be happy, and if I can do more than a little, so much the better. I've resumed using up most of my (pretty long) commute to book to listen to audiobooks, mostly because that allows me to consume more books than I otherwise could.
I'll have to read the Pattie Boyd book Oz mentions. That's what you get when you hang around readers, the stack of things you want to read grows into a mountain. I gave up reading Beatles books for awhile because I knew so much nothing ever surprised me anymore, but there have been some new ones recently that weren't bad. Patti was in an interesting position to be a witness to rock history, simply because she caught a Beatle's eye. Check out her photos.
A long time ago, in my twenties, I was sitting in the public library in my hometown, Glendora, CA, with my usual two piles of books I'd collected while meandering up and down the aisles.
I'd picked one book off the shelf, as I remember solely for the title: _Positive Addiction_, by William Glasser. And I did some reading "x-rays" of that book and decided it was worthy of being checked out. I did, and read it all the way through, closely. It would probably be considered "pop psychology" now.
His thesis: some of us have addictive personalities, and rather than emphasizing "therapy" or "treatment" of the "bad" addiction, try to replace your addiction with something you love to do: like gardening, exercise, doing puzzles, playing music, listening to music, reading, meditation, etc.
I recall he addressed something later dubbed "flow" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It made a lot of sense to me then. Whatever current Psychology says about this stuff, it's "worked" for me. I'm addicted to reading and playing music. ( If I don't get in at least an hour a day of practice I get really bitchy.)
At the time I read Glasser, I was in a rock band and drinking way too much "wit me mites" after rehearsal. I realized I hated coming home too drunk to read, so I dialed drinking back quite a lot. It's stood me in good stead since then.
Ever since, I've seen articles claiming Glasser's idea was bunk, bullshit, etc. Whatever: I'm a pragmatist. It worked for me. And later, when I discovered RAW and he wrote about his polio and the Sister Kenny method (dubbed "bunk" by the AMA), I knew that feeling.
That may have been my eye-opening experience that set me on to a lifetime's study of the problem of "experts" in culture. But I digress...
I think I'll read the Boyd too. Thanks to Oz. I had an interesting conversation with one of my older guitar students this past week: how lousy so many rock star's books are. One of the things agreed upon: the better ones are written by witnesses. The musicians (with some hired gun writer taking notes and shaping the material) tend to far too much self-mythologizing (which can be interesting in itself), and false candor of "confessions" of fuck-ups that are nowheres near what we read later, by witnesses.
(One of the most absurd: Stephen Pearcy of Ratt tries to convince us he was sexually taken advantage of by females who had power over his career. Which may be "true," but let's have some perspective!)
This perhaps gets to the heart of nearly all autobiographies: they're filled with lies and omissions. Can you imagine the level of bullshit that will be crammed into Dick Cheney's future "My Story" autobiography?
I'm definitely addicted to reading and don't get to do it nearly enough except when flying somewhere or waiting at the DMV.
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