I'm reading. I can't explain what this means to me, and I'm very sure that most of you who can read this will not quite get it, save one, who can see motion as I do the printed word.
I'm reaching back probably by more than a decade, and seeing the impact of the deal I made when I first took up a pencil to mark a student's paper. If I could read their mistakes, and help them to make it better, I would forgo the perfected printed word. I'd give up plodding through books for my own joy, if it helped them to become better writers. I'm sure that sounds very self satisfied, and like so much martyrdom. This is something that I don't talk about, and if not for tonight, I might go another decade or more before I spoke about it. I'm disabled. I'm wounded, and broken in the place I use the most. It's not noticeable, and some of my close friends don't even know about it, but it's the truth. I have a Master's degree in English, and have a full time job teaching English to those who need the help more than I did when I was where they are. I'm accomplished, and I've never hidden my difficulties, though almost no one knows how long each shitty paper takes me to read, and mark for improvement. None of you know how much proofreading goes into a simple Facebook post, knowing that because of my occupation, I'll have no mercy, and yet, because of my disability it takes me much more to simply make legible communication out of the simplest of comments. I agonize over commas, and I don't always get it right. Long ago I made a deal to allow me to have a vocation and employment in this world, and it's been painful. Tonight was, and I'm pausing here to weigh the actual impact, well, more than I was aware of. Tonight I read four chapters in a book I wanted to read, like most of you would. It took me hours, but it was worth the time and effort. My beloved could run through what I have done like a gazelle, and most people would do it without thought. For me it was hours of doing, though not quite work.
Robert Bly once said that one's greatest wisdom lies in one's greatest wound. For me this is reading, and the use of language. While most can glance and see meaning, for me it's more of a challenge. I think this is part of the recent difficulties I've had with the changes to my work's requirements. I'll get into this more in the future, I hope, but for the now I've done something good, and common, and I did it like anyone with an able brain could do. I read for joy, and unlike the hundreds of books I've "read" on audio, I did this with my eyes, and with print. It still sounds like self aggrandizing. Even writing this missive feels like too much self satisfaction. Still, I'm doing something simple, and difficult, and joyful.