I always have three or four books going at any one time. Actually, right now, I have five books that I am reading. In no particular order, I am reading Anna Karenina, a classic written by Leo Tolstoy that will probably take me until 2013 (presuming the Mayans are wrong about the end of the world thing on the 21st). I am also reading Carl Hiaasen's Stormy Weather and Hiding in the Shadows by Kay Hooper. Both of these are considered suspense or thrillers. Added to the mix is Maria T. Lennon's Making It Up As I Go Along, a general fiction novel about a thirty-eight year old woman and her baby. Last, but not least, I am reading Red Room's own Chris Rodell's Use All the Crayons!: The Colorful Guide to Simple Human Happiness.
How can I read this many books at one time? I've decided that I have become an ADD reader. I have always had the ability to keep several plots in my head. I developed this ability due to the fact that my younger sister used to hide whatever book that I was immersed in at the moment so that I would spend more time playing with her. While her strategy worked up to a point (that is I would actually go outside and play), eventually I would find another book to read in the meantime. Usually by the time, I found the first book and picked up where I had left off, she had hidden the second book. While my sister is not still hiding my books, I usually have a book that I am reading in just about every room. Lately, I've noticed that my attention span is such that I don't read hours upon hours as I used to, thus I choose my reading material based on where I am and which novel is the most compelling at the moment, making me what I refer to as an ADD reader.
Which brings me back to Rodell's book. It is the perfect book for an ADD reader especially one who considers herself an adult colorist. While some people who work in salons cutting and coloring hair are called colorists, I am not that kind. I am the kind of person who likes to get out crayons and color. It is great being with my granddaughter as she is still willing and even likes to color with me. We use all the colors in the box making colorful pictures. When I am a bit blue, nothing cheers me up like coloring a picture or two in my Sesame Street or Winnie the Pooh coloring books. In fact, I was the first bookcrosser who started a coloring in which various bookcrossers pass around a registered coloring book to various other members to color a page or two Now, since that first one, there are about ten of these colorings going around the world, but I digress.
Which, once again, brings me back to Rodell's book. Using All the Colors! is a book in which readers get a chance to remember how to be five-year-olds again (and is perfect for ADD readers who can't read for long stretches because of the way it is laid out). Chris has 501 ways to connect with youthful enthusiasm for life. Some are serious; some, not so much, but all are thoughtful in various and sundry ways to achieve simple happiness. Interspersed between these 501 suggestions are the essays called Colorful Days Diary. The diary entries are some of the most worthwhile sections that I have found while reading this book.
While I haven't completed it, I have started to follow a few of the suggestions. First, I now intermittently brush my teeth with my right hand (I am lefthanded and although he suggested switching to my left, I felt that my lefthanded prowess was skilled enough as is). I am going to try other things with my non-dominant hand, too, as I don't wish to be lopsided. Some of his suggestions, I have discovered on my own such as No. 49 which is "Invent a whole new set of rules for the weekly golf/tennis/bowling match and convince your opponets to liven things up a bit by playing by the wacky new rules." While I haven't gone quite that far, I remember a few gym classes where we allowed bounces during volleyball and also a few times requiring the adults to use the bumpers during bumper bowling with the kids. It does change the dynamic of the game and makes for more fun.
One of his Coloful Days Diary entries resonated with me profoundly. It is the one about sleep and how we should sleep more and relish the habit of sleeping more. Moreover, he equates less grumpiness with this greater quantity of sleep (ten hours or so a night). I would go one better than that. I think that a whole month of hibernation (say January or February in the northern hemisphere and the equivalent months in the southern hemisphere) for everyone would lead to a less angry, more civil humanity even leading, potentially, to world peace. Personally, I wouldn't miss either of those two months. Generally, the weather isn't the best with gray, overcast days of cold, ice, and snow. And maybe, not eating for a month would lead to some much needed weight loss, too, as one of its benefits. Bears and some other animals do it; why not humans? Just a thought.
As I mentioned earlier, I haven't finished reading it yet. I have only read about 20% of the e-book I purchased through Amazon for my Kindle, but I expect to find more ways to color outside the lines along with the way.
As Robert Louis Stevenson said: "There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy."
So be happy; pick up some crayons, and start coloring using all the colors in the box. And, if you need help on how to start, check out Chris Rodell's book; he'll give you some gizzleploop to think about.
Causes Nancy Smith Supports
Doctors without Borders
American Diabetes Association