Two years into my three-year graduate program, I burned out.  Last May I could hardly bear to open the cover of a book, much less read one.  Not only was that distressing as a writer, but because reading is my favorite hobby, I found myself without my usual source of sustenance and comfort.  But I went with the flow.  Instead of reading, I focused on swimming (another favorite hobby), took up pilates, injected some new life into my personal style, and enjoyed spending time outside in my garden.

In June, I picked up Colm Tóibín’s The Master and started to very slowly make my way through his gorgeous prose.  I often read books quickly — sometimes in one sitting.  I did that with Tóibín’s Brooklyn the previous January.  But I’m grateful that I took my time with The Master, savoring the exquisite, intricate effects of each paragraph.  

At times in graduate school, I felt reduced to my academic output.  Last May’s leave of absence from the written word allowed me to be a fuller person.  So important in writing.  Then in June The Master guided me back to reading.

By letting go for a little while, I was able to circle home.


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