I have a problem. (Most of my friends and family would roll their eyes and make a predictable comment at this point, especially given such an introductory line. As such, I won't fill in the blank.) Put more specifically, I have a book problem: I have a compulsive need to have a book with me at all times. Even in opportunities where I know I will not be able to read for an extensive period of time--such as at work, driving to the grocery store, going to a family dinner, going to meet a friend, traveling one quick stop on the subway--I will always bring a book with me. Just because I never know if I'm going to have just a few minutes available in which to finish a paragraph, or even a few pages, especially if the subway car in front of you is slow, or if you decide to stay overnight after the family dinner: you can get some reading in before bed.

I realize this reading compulsion doesn't subsume most people. However it does me. When I lived in Boston or when I'm in New York and I'm traveling on the subway, I will sometimes close my book one stop before my chosen destination in the fear that I will become too engrossed in what I am reading and miss that station. (I speak from repeat experience.) However, once I know that the next stop is mine, I will reach into my bag, pull out the book and rush through a paragraph or two because I must because I know I have that much time to read at least a paragraph or two. The time it takes to unzip my bag, pull out the book, and find the page/paragraph/sentence where I left off, is longer than the spare thirty seconds I have to read, but that concerns me not. What matters are those thirty seconds of savoring what I'm reading, one paragraph closer to finding out if John Carter will rescue Thuvia (we all know he does), one sentence to finding out why David Sedaris' brother The Rooster calls it a "fuck-it bucket"; one word closer to finding out how moon-milk was discovered.

When I was in my early twenties, this compulsion leaked into my environments. I was living in a small rented room in Watertown, MA, a room with a slanted roof on the third floor of a dimly-lit, poorly ventilated apartment. When I awoke I had to be careful not to rise too quickly or I would hit my head on the ceiling. At this point in my life, I did not have many possessions: Some clothes, some CDs, a serviceable stereo, a large storage box, and a mattress. And some books. Instead of using the storage box, about the size of two dresser drawers for clothes, I used the box to store my books. My clothes I folded in a heap in the corner: they were folded but they were in a heap. The books were my priority.

When I was in high school, my science teacher would routinely ask me questions about the digestive system of a frog, or the photosynthesis of certain types of fauna. I didn't know: underneath my desk I was too busy absorbing the latest Stephen King novel, or digesting the statistics from Sports Illustrated magazines. In English class, I would be a little less inconspicuous: I would hold the newspaper open above the desk and read the articles with no pretense of hiding what I was doing. When asked the definition or spelling of one of the vocabulary words, I word answer correctly.
 
A couple of months ago I met a friend at the movies. I was going to get there much earlier than she was. She emailed me beforehand to ensure that I would be okay waiting as long as I would be for her. I replied, "I always have a book with me."

Last week while waiting for a friend to shower before we went to dinner, I pulled out the copy of Middlemarch I am determined to finish. I knew she would not be long in the shower, and I knew that I would not get a substantial amount read. Actually unsubstantial is a woefully inadequate word for the lack of words I would cover in the book in this scant amount of time. But, retrieve the copy of Middlemarch from my bag is what I did, and read about a half page while waiting. Why? Because I could, because even in that five minute period of time, that was five minutes of reading I had. (Did I happen to mention I was reading and book-obsessed?) 

This afternoon while running back to work from an offsite shoot, I stopped at a sub shop to grab some lunch. I did not bring my bag with me on the shoot, and as such, I did not have a book with me. They also did not have the customary stack of newspapers in the sub shop or a kiosk of the free local independents. What they did have was a local weekly dedicated to the town's sports teams. Lacking anything to read, I grabbed it and flipped through the paper, learning that the Lions in the under-13 league are undefeated so far this season.

Anne Fadiman wrote in her book Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader that she once read her roommate's 1974 Toyota Corolla manual because it was the only thing in the apartment she had not read twice, and that on a hike through the Sierras with her future husband, she brought the collected books of John Muir. (Confession of this reader: I can't remember the exact essay off the top of my head and the book is presently buried in one of the many boxes of books I possess: I recently moved and have yet to unpack all of my books.)

I feel like Fadiman most of the time. Not that I would ever reach her level of erudition, but I can relate to being a compulsive, obsessive reader, and collector of books. Everywhere I go, I have a book, sometimes more than one. Regardless of the situation, I have a book. Regardless of the situation, I can always find time to read, can always find another book to buy. Wherever I am, I always seem to find my way to a bookstore or a newsstand. And through the years of living in a city or traveling to other cities, I sometimes seem to almost always miss my station, seem to just get off at the last minute, an invisible voice yelling at me at the last possible moment to close the book and dart off the subway just as the doors are about to close on me or my bag. When I dart off the train, book in hand, finger holding my place where I left off, I don't slip the book in my bag and continue on to my destination; I stop, open the book to where I had left off, and read to the end of the paragraph or to the next page break, or to the end of the chapter. I then move on to where I was heading. But, in that briefest of moments, the book, what I am reading, is what's important.
 
 
I haven't thought about the nature of apologies (although I am sure that Montaigne or Bacon probably did: they seem to have an essay dedicated to just about everything). However, given the title of this entry, I suppose if one is apologizing to someone that person or persons should be a known entity. In this instance, since there really is no one particular person I am apologizing to,  it comes down to myself.

But for what, you ask? Why are you apologizing to yourself?

I am apologizing for the fact that, as I near the first quarterly review of Scribblings and Bibblings, I have not set out to do what I initially intended to do. And that is to blog at least three times per week on subjects concerning literature, the nature of writing, books, and the various directions and those subjects can take, the tangential lines that all lead back to writing and reading or art in its myriad forms.

I originally started this blog as a means to continue writing almost daily and to create a growing marketing platform for my (hopefully) published works, and as I attempt to go about the process of breaking through into the publishing industry, either via employment or as a published author. Or, perhaps, more ambitiously, both. This has not been the case.
As is often the case, I have created obstacles for myself, some of which make sense, others of which are of my own choosing. Falling in the former category are those entries that do not get written as they require a little research and also a little fine-tune writing, much more than the random thoughts and natterings of a live blog entry can convey. However, there is nothing that prevents me from living up to the title of the blog itself and inundating my scant reading audience with my own scribblings and bibblings.

(And oh how most of my thoughts resemble scribblings, And O how I can bibble!)

For all of that I owe an apology to myself for not keeping up with what I intended.

Now, on to the second part of this title: resolutions. How do I intend to resolve this issue? By writing, and by eliminating that need to present to the world a polished product each time out.
(Internal voice: Did you really just refer to your previous posts as polished?
Me: Yes, but not in the complete sense of the word, as a diamond. Just polished like an old shoe, making it look not as dirty and scuffed up as it really is
Internal voice: That's still a pretty generous definition to be giving youself for these posts.
Me: Oh, shut up, internal voice.)

I, as the creator and primary contributor to Scribblings and Bibblings, hereby announce that I will no longer be holding back in terms of posts. I will attempt to ensure that each post, regardless of content, will be in the roughest and most incipient form possible. Some will be a bit more polished than others, as I do not want to come across as a nattering fool, however, many of the updates from here on out will be in first draft form. These will be the journal entries that become the stories, the essays, the books, the more polished blog posts that sit in the ethers of the internet. tiny bytes of wisdom or miscellany just hoping for someone to grab on to. 
I also vow to put aside my compulsion that each post be complete: beginning, middle, end. Some posts from here on out may not be cogent, they may only be a few words or sentences long. However, they will be much more frequent.
As such, I will shortly make a post regarding the nature of live writing over polished writing, whether an audience wants to read the nascent stages of a story, the outtakes, the journals, the idea stage; or whether they would rather read the completed, polished versions.

That is my resolution.

I also vow to hope to never have to apologize to myself for the lack of blog posts again.

That, dear readers, is what I solemnly vow to attempt. I do not vow to succeed. But I vow to attempt those blogging resolutions.