Yet another CwaT post (that’s an ugly acronym, sure as shit). Item #8 on the list is “book’s characters”, which I’m sure it speaks on nothing more than my appreciation of fiction in my youth. It was the escape I could always count on, and you would likely find me keeping my nose in a book instead of interacting with the whole of the world. Whenever we were giving reading assignments for homework and the like, I would finish reading the book while everyone was still on the in the first few chapters answering plot questions. This usually didn’t work out the same way when the writing was bad or uninspiring, but thankfully the vast amount of what I’ve read has been good (though it should be noted I’m very forgiving on the mishaps of others).
And what’s more grand about a book’s story than the compelling characters the story is being told through? I’d be a fool to say all stories are told through a character, mind you, and enjoy such stories as well. My appreciation with stories containing characters is stronger, however, and I’m all for a good story being told through the perspectives of one. Doesn’t even have to be a likeable character either, because I’ve found deciphering the perspective and the circumstances of them in the world being presented as a puzzle to understand and solve.
Mind you, this is in huge contrast to reality, because the world isn’t a self contained puzzle waiting to be solved. A story can be as complex as the formula to KFC chicken, but it’s a piece of solid data that’s being slowly digested as you comprehend and experience it. The world we live in is nothing but fluid emotion, and while it’s possible to comprehend and understand it on some level, what it means is far more meaningful than any fictional story, leading to some very conflicted emotions in myself.
I miss reading. For some reason. I’ve mostly been into comics these days, which is a different venue of fiction, but it isn’t read with the same passion I gave book fiction in the past. I can count the works of fiction I’ve read in the past year on my hand (but that’s excluding D&D soucebooks, which technically count). Those books were read at the request of a friend, and I don’t regret that choice, because it got me back into the thrill of reading I used to have. Heck, I just got I Shall Wear Midnight to continue the reading she sparked, and I look forward to continuing the story.
But while I look forward to that reading, I worry about what exactly I’m missing out on by delving my mind into this fantasy. Younger me read countless stories (not excluding the comics, video games, cartoons, etc.), all of which is fresh in my mind should a conversation come up about it. And yet I can’t recall the periodic table and have trouble with people’s names even after more than a few interactions with them. I’m kind of disgusted with that. And while I appreciate the wellspring of emotion a piece of fiction can bring me, I really have to wonder if I’m doing myself any good by keeping myself to myself.
In regards to my lack of reading in comparison to the past, I could blame a lot of it on the discovery of the Internet, which has everything I enjoyed about my seclusion but on crack. So not only do I still read, play games, watch movies, etc. but I also spend extraordinary amount of time on the Internet doing other stuffus. That’s downright scary when I look at it objectively. My disconnect with the reality around me is ever apparent to me. Sure, I’m filling myself with the pop culture which makes our reality interesting, but does that actually make me a part of it?
Funny how a discussion of my appreciation of fictional characters can turn into a retread into the observation I spend too much time away from society. There’s a theme to this. Something I need to learn to accept I suppose, considering the lifestyle of work I would like to get into (or try), and the vast amount of media I still need to get to at some point. I mean, really, there’s a self full of books at my right of which over 75% I haven’t read yet. That’s pretty bizarre considering I have the gall to put them on my shelf like a thing of pride. Suppose that’s another thing I need to finish up in x amount of time. How I miss the sun, even though I work in the daylight these days. Even if my odd sleep schedule says otherwise.