Into the Furnace

I posted yesterday about trying to be more gentle with myself.

At the same time, I think the things that give me the most enjoyment (Reading stories and writing stories) are intense activities, especially given my proclivity for intense stories.

I think I grew used to milder pleasures at college. Now I need to learn to appreciate powerful stories again, if only so I can spend more time with them. I duck out of stories all the time. I lose the thread of books I’m writing in part because of this aversion to darker and more emotional moments.

Experiences of trauma and violence are important parts of traditional adventure storytelling at the very least. Conflict is part of all stories. And I shy away too much when reading.

Perhaps this can be related by the Seinfeld Character of George Costanza. In the show George is embarrassingly slow and socially inept. He is so awkward he can be embarrassing to watch, even though I’m not the one making the mistakes on the show.

That is one kind of intensity I’ve never been comfortable experiencing, and find oddly hard to watch. But I think there are more kinds that have become difficult for me to read.

Certain kinds of violence I find difficult to read or watch, though most gore is not a problem for me.

Most insidious is the intensity of enjoyment I feel reading and writing. It supercharges me. I pace and ponder after reading, yet I have difficulty going back to the works that inspired my excitement. Possibly I have grown used to a duller inner life than I once had. In fact, that could be part of the reason I constantly turn to others for entertainment. I used to be good at making my own games and enjoyment. Now, I flounder. I make systems, but never use them. And this is likely related to my habit to bore myself.

I enjoy some forms of boredom plenty. But I need more. And I need to attend to my own push toward excitement more often. Whether its reading or writing, things change as stories continue. I’ve often been afraid of change in the past, but now… I fear its worse than ever. And near completely irrational at the moment. I don’t hate my current lifestyle, but I have a long way I could climb to my ideal.

So I am going to mandate more completing of books read. I am going to mandate taking more mental risks where I could be emotionally sore afterward. The important thing about this great mandate is that I approach it gently. Suggest myself to keep reading a book I’m in the midst of rather than starting a new one as I so often do. If I don’t like where the books goes, I can always write my own and make a story of my own.

I’ve got nothing to lose by reading more. Nothing, except time that I’ll waste in some way.

And who knows, maybe reading more thoroughly and intensely will help me break through the wall built by my duller side.

I am off.

Have a great Friday, and enjoy the weekend.

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