Mario Villalobos

A Lot

I read a lot this weekend. By a lot I mean a lot. Over the past month, I saved probably over 100 articles in Safari’s Reading List. I usually don’t save much of anything in there, but these were articles I used to get to during my daily reading, but because I started to get a bit more strict about where I spend my time, I hadn’t. I didn’t really plan to get through all of them this weekend, but once I started, I had to get to the end. I needed to get through them because I wanted to be better about this. I wanted next weekend to be free of this burden, in a sense, so I could spend my time doing things a bit more meaningful to me. Stuff like spending more time on my novel or learning something new or improving some aspect of my life I would love to improve. I read some great articles, some mediocre ones, and others I didn’t even bother because I wasn’t interested in them anymore. I think the reason I got through them all this week was because I used the Pomodoro technique again, and because I wedged in other tasks in between my reading sprints. At the moment, though, my head is woozy with the sight of these words because pretty much all I stared at in the past 48 hours.

It didn’t help that I started a new book today. I’m re-reading A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. A bought the paperback copy of the book a few months ago during my shopping spree because I wanted to transcribe that book after I finished transcribing the Great Gatsby. If I keep the same momentum transcribing that book, I should be finished with it on Friday. My plan is to start transcribing Hemingway’s novel on Saturday. No stops. I want to keep moving forward because I set up a daily time block in my schedule devoted to just transcribing. I’ve learned a lot by transcribing the Great Gatsby. Every time I go through a few pages, I pick up something new, not only about the story but about the process of writing a novel. A way a sentence matters or how a certain scene is structured. The way Fitzgerald shows his command of everything he’s doing is simply inspiring. Each time I finish one of my sessions, I feel a sense of disgust toward my novel. I want to throw it away again and start over. Fortunately, I know how wasteful that is, so I just keep my head down while also moving my feet as much as I can.

A Farewell to Arms is also the first paper book I’ll be reading in years. It felt so strange reading with the lights on since I’m so used to the backlit screen of my Kindle Paperwhite. It was a great feeling, though. I pulled out my mechanical pencil and underlined a few passages, and I loved the sound the lead made against the paper. I love the feel of the pages, and I loved folding the paperback cover behind the book while reading. All these things just can’t be replicated by the Kindle. It makes me wish I spent some of my money on paper books rather than the Kindle copies I bought. In the end, though, I’m grateful I read period. I remember a time when I didn’t read at all and how blindly oblivious I was about the world.

Tomorrow I start the second month of Insanity Max: 30. I’m not sure what to expect. The first month was tough, and it really didn’t get any easier as the days went on because each workout forces you to push harder and last longer than last time. This time around? God, I don’t know. This was the first full week where I broke down every hour of my days and actually succeeded in following the plan I set for myself, so this new week with this new workout and this new book to read and transcribe means a lot. It means I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone and doing more with myself while still living the same 24 hours as I have before.

Life is short. Life is also what I make of it, and this is how I want to be spending it right now. This is not how I want to live it forever, however, but I just hope I’m preparing myself for when I do jump all in and start living it as crazily and as fulfillable as I can. Those walls are slowly coming up.