How To Get By [ft…A Book]

The days are long, the sun is hard, life is relentless, and books are a lot of jumbled words which a brain as soft as cotton can’t wrap around and breathe in. Take a second. Take a minute. Take an hour. Take as long as you need.

1. Find a comfortable place, a couch, a bed, a corner of floor. I often like sitting on floors, and don’t do it enough. Get a dog, a cat, a drink, whichever preferred. A notebook for a wandering mind (for creative thoughts, sometimes, for relevant ones – it’s okay to wander). A pillow in case you fall asleep.

2. If you’re into music while concentrating, turn on a soundtrack. Listen to the whir of the fan, watch the cool-toned flickering light. Open the book – a book carefully chosen in a slump, a book that’s attractive, with the right, engaging description and a pretty cover. If you haven’t found one, look on Amazon or Goodreads. Ask your friends for their favourite books. Ask the internet, ask your mother. You’ll find the right one soon enough. (It wouldn’t hurt to pick a happy one, life is sad sometimes.)

3. Read a page. If, after a page, you still feel like putting it down, read another. Continue until lost or until you fall asleep, either one is acceptable. (If you must put the book by, do some other things. Call a friend, take a walk, peel a fruit, open the window and start putting together story backgrounds for your neighbours. I’ve decided a lot of mine are official government spies.)

4. If the book is particularly dramatic and involves some carefully-italicised and strongly-delivered lines, feel free to act it out. You may feel silly, so also be sure to shut the door.

5. If you have made enough of a dent that you’re thinking about the circumstances of the characters and drifting away from your own (or if you’ve fallen asleep), congrats, you have successfully avoided life for a couple hours. Good luck when you emerge. I don’t have a manual for life itself, however, you may consult a good book.

PS, this is a fun exercise, it’s not actually meant to be instructive. I was bored. If you become a hardcore floor-addict, I’m afraid I can’t help you, since I’m probably sitting on the floor right now.

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