I feel like a slacker! I've been working full-time all week and I've gotten so totally wrapped up in reading blogs the past couple of evenings that I haven't really come up for air. Trent recently answered a reader's question about reading challenging material and I've been sort of thinking about that in some little corner of my brain.
I was looking for something online and ended up going off on a tangent (ADD, moi?) and reading a lot of both blog posts and comments I would never have stumbled across otherwise. What I was reading about isn't important. But what I found, was. I learned a lot, not all of it pleasant. I found ignorant, biased people intent on forcing their viewpoint on the rest of society under a wide variety of banners. Of those, I think I found the intolerant liberals the most amusing. I mean, shouldn't "intolerant liberal" be an oxymoron? I learned a lot about a couple of groups of people, one of which I didn't really know existed.
I also found intelligent, caring people who have made tremendously different choices than I have in my life but who are very like me in a number of other ways. I found some people with excellent writing skills, people who have an ability with words that I will never have. I've seen how those skills can be used to support and encourage and I've seen how those skills can be used to condescend and isolate.
Much of what I've read has no connection to anything in my "real" life but it's true that reading things far different from your normal fare can shake things up. It's not that what I've read is causing me to question my beliefs and values. Rather I'm seeing more. More connections. More things I want to know more about.
But it's left me a little off-balance and feeling unprepared to write. My usual posts seem so banal, so trivial. My writing skills, skills I've been praised for at school and at work, seem sadly undeveloped.
My feelings of inadequacy are increased by the lack of progress in paying bills. I don't want to post on here and say that I'm still waiting to do x or y.
So, let me just close for today by telling you to go out and read. Look for things that are opposite to your usual inclinations. Read the comments. Follow links. Learn something new this weekend. It may shock you, enlighten you, anger you or amuse you but it will keep you growing.