I can't read books anymore. I can't read anything longer than a few pages before my eyes start scanning for key words and the climaxes in paragraphs and dialogue.
I had learnt to read when I was three years old, and my favourite book as an eight year old boy was One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. In my third year of primary school I used to sit at lunchtime with two Vegemite sandwiches and the Guide to Psychology. I remember telling the girls who wanted to play kiss chasey I was busy.
But somewhere between absorbing 1984 and Brave New World, I just couldn't be fucked anymore. The attention span of modern man has been reduced to four second Snapchat stories and blatantly biased, one sided infographics. My mind will wander, even as I write this, and it goes back and forth to paragraphs and jots down anecdotes, inserting where it sees fit.
My girlfriend suggested the reason I struggle with reading is that my mind has been tainted with life experience. I cannot lose myself in the imagination of another due to the realities and responsibilities of my own. This is a Catch 22, as I obnoxiously expect people to be able to read my work, but I cannot read others.
I can't believe I'm the only writer who has had their mind numbed by the modern age. Are we all just writing stories, painting trains and acting for an audience of others who are just as empty as us, or at least appear to be? Does our own perceived importance in the cult of the personality outweigh the things we yearn to master?
Reality TV as we know it was born in 1992, and heaven help anyone who was born after that.
I took today off work to be able to write a few things. I came down to the coffee shop under my apartment, in a futile attempt to be able to cohesively relay my ideas. But after my third long black, staring at the beautiful people, all I can think about is rolling another cigarette and taking a shit.
I used to sit in bars to write instead, because to be fair, the idea of the writer in a coffee shop is a cliché. The raw honesty of an alcoholic talking to another alcoholic is something that you don't get when surrounded by gluten free raisin toast and feta avocado smash.
Roald Dahl used to be able to go to work, get home, eat some sort of sardine, make himself a cup of tea and write for two hours every night. I get home from work, endlessly scroll through Instagram, listen absentmindedly to pay TV and think about how I have to get up for work the next day.