Monday, April 16, 2012

Watching More T.V.

Soviet Roulette is on a kind of hiatus. After a few years of obsessive reading, the principal author hit a wall and needs a few months to recover his passion for the Soviet past. If I had regular readers, I'd apologize to them. I am not sure why I've run out of energy these past couple of months, but it happened to me once or twice in the past. Once, living in Scottsdale, Arizona, one of my classes was abruptly cancelled and I found myself unable to read anything. A state of extreme boredom set in. I went to the library and tried to pick up something completely different, a biography of one of my favorite musicians, Yoko Ono. Not even that did the trick. I turned to cooking and started making about three new dishes per day, something I've never done before or since. The crisis reminds me of something that happened to Leo Tolstoy, a man who knew how to exploit anybody and everything to make great literature. Only this time, when Tolstoy hit the wall, he turned from fiction to nonfiction, and began to produce a great number of tendentiousness tracts about ethical living and non-religious Christianity, if ever there was such a thing.

Although I am reading next to nothing these days, I did manage to complete the short memoirs of Tolstoy's oldest daughter a few weeks ago. Her tender, well-balanced description of Tolstoy's family life makes him out to be a reasonably good family man, despite the fact that his marriage eventually collapsed into a state of jealous anguish. The author is kind about both parents, which seems fair, although one could just as easily blame both parents for the discord that led Tolstoy to flee the house at the end of his fruitful life.

At any rate, I'm in a blogger's funk at the moment, and can't make up my mind on a proper response. My older brother says he's determined to spend less time on reading in the future. I'm sure his three children leave him little choice. When I asked him if he meant to turn from reading toward physical activity or travel, he replied with characteristic honesty: "No," he said, "I think I'll just try to watch more T.V." Perhaps my brother's attitude is what lies behind the ancient Hindu custom of dividing life up into distinct phases. In one phase, you work, in another you study, in another, you seek God, in another, you blog, or something like that. I do wonder whether I should divorce myself from all reading for a period of time in order to focus on producing some sustained and creative piece of writing related to the Soviet Revolution. We'll see about that. In the meantime, I'll just put this blog on hiatus, trying to check in from time to time.