Some people read for instruction, which is praiseworthy, and some for pleasure, which is innocent, but not a few read from habit, and I suppose that this is neither innocent nor praiseworthy.
- Somerset Maugham
I was reading the other night and I came across the above. It was thought-provoking and made me wonder how often do we make time for such a delightful activity in our hectic lives. As a child I read voraciously - anything I could get my hands on - and all I wanted to do when I grew up was to become a writer. And now after many years as a journalist and war historian I find weeks go by without me picking up a book to read for just pleasure.
I have a stepdaughter who lives in England and she told me that as a child she was lucky to spend some of her school holidays in the south of France with Somerset Maugham. How lucky was that! Can you imagine living with a character writer of the calibre of Maugham and being able to study him at first hand.
I don’t know if all writers are the same but I find that some days it is impossible to sit down quietly and write something that is concise, sensible and soul-searching and ‘formidable!’
One last thought on the life of a writer by Maugham:
I am never so happy as when a new thought occurs to me and a new horizon gradually discovers itself before my eyes. A fresh idea dawns upon me and I feel myself uplifted from the workaday world to the blue empyrean of the spirit. Detached for a moment from all earthly cares I seem to walk on air.
So take heart all you fellow scribes!