By: Sterling Terrell
This tension drives me nuts.
This trade-off between reading and writing.
See, the time I spend doing X can’t be spent doing Y.
It’s an issue of opportunity cost.
This seemed all theoretical until I one day realized I wanted to read everything and, at the same time, spend all day writing.
There are not enough hours in the day.
It’s different for everyone though.
Who knows, for others it might be the trade-off of time between playing video games and watching T.V.
And naturally, as the years go by, the decision to read or to write must be looked at under a shorter and shorter time horizon.
We are so blessed with these days, these hours.
“I quickly began to need books as naturally as I need food. The minute I began to write I felt a tension between reading and writing that, instead of abating, has grown more intense with the shortening of my life’s horizon. I’m now in my sixties, which means that I’m looking at a maximum of about thirty more years of life. Which should I do? Read, or write? Though I have now read a lot of books the range is still green with thousands of potentially interesting books yet unread. It’s been with constant—if low-grade—reluctance that I’ve taken time off from reading in order to write fiction, screenplays, essays, and the like. So far I’ve kept the two activities in uneasy balance, gotten away with doing both, but keeping that balance may not be possible much longer. I have, in any case, the feeling that I’ve already overgrazed the plains of fiction; the grasshoppers of time have stripped most of that foliage.”
–Larry McMurtry, Walter Benjamin At The Dairy Queen