As much as I love to watch movies, go to shows and festivals and consume all things pop culture, I am a reader. My nerd identity is entered around this simple fact, I read and I mostly read science fiction and fantasy. However, I periodically go through slumps where describing myself as a reader seems disingenuous, at best. I usually spend commuting time reading books and articles, keeping up with the world, but lately that time is now spent mindlessly playing solitaire and scrolling through Twitter without truly engaging. Sometimes these slumps spread beyond reading and into other things I love. Instead of watching Game of Thrones or the new Sense8, which features Freema Agyema, aka Martha jones, I’ll mindlessly rewatch episodes of Law & Order or even worse, The Real Housewives of Whatever.
The longer these slumps go the more they will start to affect my mood. I’ll find it hard to connect to things and writing becomes nearly impossible. Reading has always been a large part of my life and I have found that the more difficulties I have reading the more difficulties I have in life. I will walk around with the same book in my bag for months and never find the time to read it. This lack of motivation is quickly followed by a lack of creativity that is the worst feeling for an aspiring writer and creative.
Determined to get out of my reading slumps, I tend to go back and re-read something I love. Normally, that something I love is Harry Potter I know, I know. Other times it’s Jane Eyre or one of Jane Austen’s classics maybe even a Nick Hornby book to remind me of the type of writer I aspire to be.
Where do these slumps come from? I think about this a lot and I think a slump is usually found after I have read something very immersive and try to read something too soon that will inevitably disappoint. Another cause of slumps, I find, is when my real life becomes really busy and that downtime that I would usually spend reading or writing is spent dead-eyed in front of the TV watching things that I don’t have to think deeply about. I think for a while these slumps are to be expected and can sometimes be necessary to rejuvenate my love of reading. However, sometimes they go on for too long. The last book I read, which was really good, took me over 4 months to finish!
I’ve never fully understood the why of my slumps, but they’re distressing to say the least. The way in which your brain can disconnect from something that is such a large part of your identity. Especially in times when I feel I need the escape most, my inability to connect to what I’m reading makes me feel incredibly distressed. However, like any old friend I remain confident that we will find each other again. I’ll keep searching for the right book to spark that love that may be dormant but never gone completely.