The Slow Reader

The art of slowing down reading and writing does not have to be a lost form.

The art of slowing down reading and writing does not have to be a lost form.

Do not let the title of this post deceive you. The slow reader is a good thing. It implys concentration, enjoyment, and contemplation to just name a few. When I was growing up in Alabama, I would read anything and everything. I just enjoyed reading in my youth. After college I literally stopped reading except for manuals and polices on the how to’s of my job. How utterly boring you might think. It was not at the time. Everything has a season.
In the mid 1970’s, my family lived across the street from a lovely lady named Vivian. Vivian was the quintessential southern homemaker and our established bible authority for our neighborhood. I adored her. She hired me as a teenager to clean, dust, and help her can preserves. Lord knows I did not really care for the work, but I loved listening to her converse. Later she introduced me to different authors as she had stacks of books she would be reading. She read everything she could get her hands on. She had a television, but I think it was only for watching Walter Cronkite for news.
After I grew up I began sharing books with her. She had a habit of keeping them forever. There was one particular book I wanted back so I went to her house to get it. I noticed a slip of paper about halfway through the book where she was taking meticulously detailed notes on what she was reading and I asked her, “Are you done with it?” She said, “No but it is ok if you want to take it. I have so many things I can read,” as she and I looked over at her rather large piles of books, newspapers, and magazines in the corner of the room. I took the book, but felt some reservation for taking it.
In later years when Vivian’s health was declining, I decided to go see her. We had a wonderful time. I admired her integrity and old-fashioned pleasures. She taught me how to read a book slow and savor every moment of it. To this day I can not forget what value she brought to my life.
I am aware that I am afforded the luxury of reading on Kindle and emails at my fingertips now, but Vivian showed me the way to study and allow time alone in a book to transform you. For that I forever grateful. There was no email between us after I moved away from Alabama. There was only the mail box. It could only be through letter writing we would keep in touch. The calming and beautiful way of orchestrating your life as she did will forever remind me of a vintage time. So when I get down on myself about how slow it is for me to read or write in my present time frame, I capture the memory in my mind sitting with Vivian on the veranda scoping through piles of books without a care in the world. I hear her whispering to me, “Let’s forget about the housework and go sit down a spell and have a cup of tea and read together.” Yes, Miss Vivian let us just go do that.

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26 thoughts on “The Slow Reader

      1. alesiablogs Post author

        I am glad there are those out there that see it this way. I think what I hear from you all is that the book in your hands is here to stay. I think Kindle may have over estimated the tactile power of the book!

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  1. Mrs. P

    “Let’s forget about the housework and go sit down a spell and have a cup of tea and read together.” I think I just found my dream job! 😉

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    1. alesiablogs Post author

      Yeah. She was so sweet. We definitely did work, but we found time to discuss books too! Vivian had an amazing memory. She quoted bible verses verbatim. It still amazes me today to think how she could do that. She had true discipline.

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  2. Donna

    How sweet. The true appreciation for the written word. Makes me think of how we try to rush thru life. Words to take to heart.

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    1. alesiablogs Post author

      Donna,
      Thank you so much for reading. After writing this I need to leave the house and go to an appointment. I was at a light when a man wanting to turn starting go ballistic about turning a certain direction and wanted me to pull forward so he could turn. I had no room to go forward so when he finally could go around he gunned the gas as hard as he could to make some kind of statement with his wheels skidding. I just do not get it.

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  3. diggingher

    I really enjoyed reading this. Your perspective is a gift. I read a lot, genres are varied, as are the media I choose to read them in. I am guilty however of reading fast, too fast sometimes to really savor the fine writing on the pages. Thank you for encouraging me to slow down.

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  4. pishnguyen

    What a beautiful post and tribute to someone who was important in your life. I love the idea of being able to order my life in a slower way, even though it means kind of “dropping out” of what life today seems to demand of us. For me, it’s often much too frenzied. I crave those slower times and miss them very much. Thanks for this wonderful post!

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    1. alesiablogs Post author

      It is refreshing to hear others resemble my own life’s struggles. Slowing down in any form is a valuable tool for a much more fulfilled life in my opinion.

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    1. alesiablogs Post author

      That is beyond sweet. I take that as a high compliment from someone that has an awesome blog yourself. I have many blogs I follow go through my reader on WP, but I have “chosen” my favs to go right to my email box. You definitely are one of those. : )

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  5. A.M.B.

    Vivian sounds like a wonderful lady who taught you some very important lessons. It’s interesting that you mention not reading as much at other points in your life. I was the same way in law school and when I first started working. I read A LOT, but it was all law-related. I’m at a point in my practice where I don’t have to learn everything from scratch, giving me the time to read and enjoy books.

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    1. alesiablogs Post author

      Thank you. I was just reading your post and bought the book you recommended on your blog post! I will take it on my Ipad when I fly to Hawaii for vacation. I will be thinking of you when I am on the beach!!!!

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  6. Pingback: Who Are You? | alesiablogs

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