Edie Everette: Rather than curse the darkness, pick up a book

A recent power outage offered a chance for an older, simpler pursuit: reading a book in one night.

Edie Everette

Edie Everette

By Edie Everette / Herald Forum

It took a power outage for me to buckle down and read an entire book last night.

It took a swerving, center-lane-crossing driver to hit a power pole on U.S. 2, knocking out electricity to more than 600 folks in the upper Sky Valley, to help me focus. I hope that driver and anyone involved is OK, but it took the possibility of me not being able to do anything else due to lack of electricity to enter another world. Not the quick, scrolling, dopamine-inducing world of face filter, dog rescue and lip-synching videos but a world that took hours to enter and absorb.

Every Sunday, back in my 20s and 30s, I would read an entire book. There were exceptions of course, such as James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” That novel took me an entire year to read, along with a study guide to help me understand it. I worked at a lunch counter in Seattle at the time and painted a shirt that said, “I am on page __ of Ulysses,” onto which I would pin a piece of paper with the page number to fill in the blank.

For a while I thought that graduate school turned me off to reading, all that postmodern crap that I imbibed. But now I realize that it was the advent of cell phones at about that same time that did the trick. How can we resist the seduction of the immediate gratification of … everything? I don’t know about you, but I could sit and listen to podcasts while playing Spider Solitaire for the rest of my life.

Not to mention Amazon Prime, Netflix and all the other movie streaming sites. Compared to television shows from my childhood and young adulthood, some of the movies and series streaming today are as rich as literature. The writing, acting, cinematography, directing and soundtracks of these shows are stellar. I personally love Nordic Noir.

After reading Harry Crews’ memoir “A Childhood: The Biography of a Place” that night by battery-powered lantern I shut my eyes and saw dozens of worm-like shapes wiggling toward me. The entire scene was in monochromatic red because my eyes had not been happy about reading so long in a dim light; yet my soul felt victorious. I can still read an entire book in one sitting!

Without a power outage, the stacks of books on my nightstand only grow taller. When I’m tired at the end of a work day and everyone is fed and the kitchen is cleaned and I climb into bed, well, I deserve to take it easy and look at my phone. Besides, reading is so … quiet.

What shall I read during the next power outage? After last night I have a much better attitude about them; at least when they don’t happen during wintertime.

Edie Everette is a writer, news junkie and lives in Monroe.

Talk to us

More in Opinion

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump scale the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Two Seattle police officers who were in Washington, D.C., during the January 6 insurrection were illegally trespassing on Capitol grounds while rioters stormed the building, but lied about their actions, a police watchdog said in a report released Thursday, July 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
Editorial: Electoral Count Act needs bipartisan reforms now

Changes to the 135-year-old law may prevent future attempts to overturn elections.

Editorial cartoons for Wednesday, Aug. 17

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

The COVID-19 ward at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in May 2020. (Andy Bronson / Herald file) 20200519
Editorial: Nurses and hospitals need our care, support now

The pandemic has taken a toll on Providence and its nurses. Changes are needed to restore all.

Melinda Parke sits inside her Days Inn motel room as her son, Elijah, sleeps on his chair behind her Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Editorial: Purchase of hotel as shelter can be effective tool

The county’s investment of federal aid will serve those who need shelter and supportive services.

Teresa Reynolds sits exhausted as members of her community clean the debris from their flood ravaged homes at Ogden Hollar in Hindman, Ky., Saturday, July 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Editorial: How many billion-dollar disasters will it take?

A tally of climate disasters shows an ever-increasing toll of costs and lives. Congress must act.

Glad to see inclusive report on Navy ships return to port

When I picked up my Daily Herald from my porch this morning,… Continue reading

Democrats aren’t you tired of all this?

Someone once told me that hitting yourself on the head with a… Continue reading

Let’s join essay writer in not tolerating bad behavior

Kudos to Tyler Rourke for his eloquent description of a recent family… Continue reading

Brittney Griner broke law and admitted guilt

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” In other words, play… Continue reading

Most Read