STOIC POETRY | Reading good books

Updated: Sep 4


I once rose late each day to meander life in search of tidbits to consume: news, gossip, politics, and the shared things of the appetites of people I mostly never knew—friends, and those I follow, and others whom I merely liked what they had to say. My consumption then was a gross intake of whatever could fill the time, or stuff my attention until necessity took me aside for work, or a meal, or sleep. Such a wasteful use of time: days and weeks and months and years of life utterly lost to distraction— Life I can never get back. Life lost utterly to nothing.

To the life aimed at the consumption and contemplation of literature. Such a good use of time.

I now rise early each day to meander life in search of tidbits to consume: ideas, narrative, insight, observation, and the sincerely contemplated sharing of people I never knew—writers, and poets, and scientists, and thinkers and those who dream, and who I like, or am challenged by, or expanded by what they have to say. My consumption now is a dear intake of whatever I find good, or wholesome, or sweet to my muse and my poet and the better self I wish one day to become. Such a good use of time: days and weeks and months and years of life utterly gained through distraction— Life I can never get back. Life utterly improved through such good use of time.


And I keep now a place to focus my time, a small shelf behind my head, which I dust every Sunday to keep clean, and where I have placed a small collection of the books I wish to read. It is the place which holds the focus of the time which I now truly claim is mine, the time when I am not working, or sleeping, or eating, or bathing, or being a social man of family and community and well being. My small shelf is the place where I go to take up the distraction which I do willfully choose; where I find my books, and my glasses, and my pen and a blank notebook. And I sit with these things, the books mostly, and I consume— I read, and I think, and I sometimes makes notes about the things which I learn. And though I know that I am still simply filling time, I also know that I am now filling time well—at least as well as possible in a cosmos so deep as this, as bottomless as the end of light-years, and the winking out of life, and the very near memory of never being. Such a good use of time...this reading of my books. That's what I tell myself—and I truly believe it—and that is now what I do.


I wake, I work, I rest and I read.

My name is Kurt Bell.


You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.


Be safe... But not too safe.


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