I used to be a voracious reader.
As a teenager I was consuming novels as fast as I could. This near constant reading fueled my own creative mind and I wrote nearly as much as I read. However, I found that as I left high school and began working full time, I gave less and less of my days to literature; my own included. I gave into my computer, my smartphone, my television. I would read the occasional novel here and there, but the fire that had burned in my heart for new adventures just wasn’t there. I let myself become satisfied with the instant gratification of silly videos and the ease of slumping on the couch and watching season upon season of television. I find a bit of solace that a few of the shows I watched happened to have incredible writing and world building. Chief among them Doctor Who, which will forever hold a place at the top of my list thanks to Russell T. Davies, Stephen Moffat, Mark Gatiss, and scores of other talented screenwriters.
But in all of these flashing rectangles I lost more than a desire to read. I feel I lost patience. The patience to sit back and relinquish control of your mind to another as you go for a ride through an unknown world. This loss of patience seeped into other aspects of my life and I am worse off because of it.
I recently finished the novel Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton. With his passing in 2008 I was excited to read more of his unique style. This manuscript was identified by his widow, Sherri as she went about establishing the Michael Crichton archive. I owe Crichton mountains of gratitude; he was the author that set my mind afire as a boy. His detailed research and incomparable and engaging writing style created worlds that came off of the page and played with ease in my imagination. I am forever indebted to Mr. Crichton for the body of work he shared with us before he left. As I reflect on that time in my life I feel, now more than ever, that I need the patience and focus that stories like his require.
I guess my point is to say to you what I need said to me. Slow down. If you’re like me, rushing and burning through the day just to get the next morsel of pop culture silliness, know that it is pointless. We don’t need to ride the wave of every meme. We don’t need to have every single instance of our lives documented on social media or spend our days living through the highlights of someone else’s life.
Take a moment to be without any interaction with the world. Even five minutes sitting calmly and clearing your mind does great things.
Rest in peace Michael as you live on through your fans.