Thoughts run through your head 24/7 even as you dream in your sleep. These thoughts may be nothing consequential or anything that may cause anxieties or otherwise related to work or daily grinds. They are the evanescence and randomness of our existence. Occasionally there are Sundays where there is an urgent piece of work that my colleague has spent her weekend working on and I have to look through before the week begins. It is Sunday, I feel I deserve a break, but it is something I have procrastinated in working on and now I have to race against the timeline. Thus the sooner I get done with it , the sooner I can return to my reading.
Reading is definitely something I do because I want to do it. Perhaps my parents were readers therefore I started reading since I was a child. During my primary school days, I would save up my pocket money just to purchase one of those magazines for kids. It was not difficult as I always brought packed sandwich from home and my mother was strict about what we could purchase from the school canteen, which was nothing. She was right about being wary of the MSG or sugar content in the food sold in school. My primary school friends had nicknamed me ‘Miss Bread’ as I only ate bread packed with butter and homemade kaya aka coconut jam or fish floss during school recess. On the rare occasions that I joined our class reunion, somehow I was reminded of that. Sweet.
I try to imagine how it would be like to be able to just spend time reading in all your waking hours. The song ‘Wouldn’t that be lovely’ comes to mind. Then I google to see where the song originated from. So you see even if you have all the time to read, you will still get distracted by your thoughts. It is easy to meander and get digressed if you are not mindful of what goes on in your head.
Someone who is a reader says, she reads because when she reads, her imagination will start running. In a way when you read, you may get to know yourself a little better if you are aware of what goes on in your head. Reading is something you do in your own solitary space and you are responsible for your own thoughts. But often you wonder if you have read the writer’s intent rightly thus it would be nice to have exchange with people who have read the same book, if not, I read blogposts or reviews to refresh or gain better understanding of what I have read.
My reading list can be eclectic. It includes The First and Last Freedom by J Krishnamurti from an ex-colleague and I am glad to be introduced to the book.
In his book The First and Last Freedom, J Krishnamurti writes,
‘ After all, the mind is the product of time. Thought is based on yesterday, on the past; and so long as thought is functioning within the field of time, thinking in terms of the future, of becoming, gaining, achieving, there must be contradiction, because then we are incapable of facing what is. Only in realizing, in understanding, in being choicelessly aware of what is, is there a possibility of freedom from that disintegrating factor which is contradiction.’
‘ Therefore it is essential, is it not ? , to understand the whole process of our thinking, for it is there that we find contradiction. Thought itself has become a contradiction because we have not understood the total process of ourselves; and that understanding is possible only when we are fully aware of our thought, not as an observer operating upon his thought, but integrally and without choice—which is extremely arduous. Then only is there the dissolution of that contradiction which is so detrimental, so painful.’
Krishnamurti writes about the importance of self-knowledge in order to achieve tranquility of the mind. He also writes that ‘ the very element of friction makes us feel alive’.
I reckon it is perfectly OK to have conflicts and I understand that when we write a story , we think about the conflicts that we want to create in the story we are writing. Fictions are about conflicts in the human world and fiction writers provide insights to human behaviour, changes and absurdity of life.
Here is a quote by the renowned thinker and philosopher.
“ Truth is a Pathless land.” – J. Krishnamurti
With the internet, there are many ways of getting yourself lost in cyberspace. After a day’s work, when I think there is still time in the evening for me to catch up on some of my preferred reading, I find myself googling and my efforts trying to read with intent are counterproductive. I guess at times by allowing myself to meander and read randomly, I do come across gems that I might have not stumbled upon otherwise. The thing is it is important to get enough sleep so you are physically and mentally well rested thus I try not to be carried away with reading a fiction or a thriller that I am eager to know its endings. For bedtime reading, I usually pick a contemporary fiction or a slow read.
There are certain reads that appear to be for fun but even fun reads give you some insights and it is through reading, we are able to gain a little more insight about the world and the workings of our mind.
I am inclined to be calculating when come to watching a film. In recent weeks, I caught a few films at the local independent bookshop and I am glad that I had watched them before the renewed lockdown ruling. Nomadland was amongst them. While its plot is fictional, the background story is about real life nomads based on a non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder.
The screenplay of Nomadland was written by Chloé Zhao who also directed the film. It is a beautiful film.
One of the other films that I watched last month was Non-Fiction or Double Vies. It is a French film directed and written by Olivier Assayas. The story is about how we have to remodel our lives and adapt to the changing digital landscape. It is about Alain, a literary editor of a 100- year-old publishing house and his wife, Selena, an actress playing cop in a popular television series. Alain has turned down the manuscript of his long-time writer, Léonard’s autofiction for the first time and to adapt to the digital age, he hires a young woman, Laure who considers tweets to be a “modern haiku”.Both Alain and his wife, Selena are beginning to doubt their career paths. Selena cannot bear the thought that one can watch films on a smart phone. Alain is having an affair with Laure while Selena is having an affair with Léonard hence both couples are leading double lives. Throughout the film, there are conversations about the pros and cons of books versus e-books, libraries vs Google Books and the prevailing argument is whether people read less today. Perhaps people are still reading but only the source is different; they are not reading as many novels or newspapers but they rather read texts, websites and blogs. Léonard’s wife, Valérie is a left-wing political consultant who does not appear to have much interest in her husband’s circumstances. The characters in the movie are flawed individuals and they only care about their own lives. As an avid reader, I am naturally attracted to films that talk about books or the publishing world.Non-Fiction is a comedy and it is an examination of contemporary society including the literary world and the way we live in a constant changing world. http://www.juliettebinoche.net/doubles-vies.html
Ultimately the hope for the ultimate freedom can’t come from anyone telling you what to do or believe, you have to find out yourself.
Perhaps like what an individual says in the film, Non-Fiction ” We must choose the change, not suffer it.”
Voila Emma I have finally managed to change the setting to include comments. A note of thanks to Emma https://wordsandpeace.com/ and Stuart Danker https://stuartdanker.com/ for stopping by and pointed that out.