…Kids usually forgive in ten seconds, but kids can never really forgive someone they love who naps every day. It’s too boring. So naturally we woke him, by mistake and on purpose. Besides, enforced reading hours are like reading cookbook recipes you never taste. All day long I read for fun, for adventure, for joy, for lust, for profit (the kind of profit only heaven pays you). I read for the feeling of falling into things and swimming around and climbing back out. I read for the music, for the drama, for the mathematical precision, for the scientific wonder, for the philosophical wisdom, for the history, for all of these. I read eagerly – no one had to ask me to do it – letting myself go completely into other worlds, worlds just as real s everyday life but frequently so much more interesting. And both of my parents read, too, all the time, in this same intent, exploratory way, especially my father. Before dinner, if he could grab a minute, and after dinner for sure, and on weekends after chores, he lay on the lumpy brown couch in our Bloomington living room, or sat upright in the captain’s chair by the fireplace at Blue Mound north of Luverne, or slouched in he blue king-size bed at Roundwind east of Luverne, with circular silver lamps blazing on each side of him like the lights of a spaceship carrying him away into the dark – and read and read and read. “The best way to be a good writer is to read,” he said.
There are probably some 5,000,000 natural born brilliant people at any given time in our present society and every one of them without working too much at it can present brilliant things. It is easy to be brilliant, and to seem brilliant, if you’re born brilliant. But it is another matter for a brilliant person to come through with something simple and moving and profound. It’s the difference between an Einstein and a complicated-sounding professor of mathematics. It’s those mental leaps, jumps, that count. Intuitive making beyond learning. Not the reasoned out things. In fact, I can’t think of a single new idea that has ever been arrived at by sheer rational thinking. It is true that a good mind has to be exposed to a lot of rational thinking around it for it to make those jumps. Nevertheless, it is still the jumpers who make it go. And the curious thing is, once you’ve become a jumper, you can hardly go back to being just a rational person.