“The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” -Mark Twain
A quick search of the interwebs turned up several instances of this quote on different sites, but no context. As such, I can’t be certain whether it was intended solely in a literal sense, or if Clemens was using it as an example and a metaphor for a broader idea. I prefer to think the latter, however, as it seems equally true for pursuits other than reading.
To generalize the sentiment, we could say: The person who fails to wisely apply their talents has no advantage over those who lack them.
I think I’ve been stuck in a rut lately of allowing many of my talents to fall into disuse, and thereby deriving no value from them. Fulltime employment (perhaps paradoxically?) increases the challenge of making use of any but a narrow subset of my skills, as few of them are relevant to my position. Employment consumes more of the time and energy available to me for such pursuits than I actually have, leaving me destitute of one or both at the end of each day.
I am not sure what to do about this, except to try to squeeze in a little bit here and there. This blog entry, for example, is a baby step toward keeping my writing skills sharp. It was begun on the bus this morning, tapped into the keyboard of my phone, and completed this evening, in a narrow slice of time between finishing the laundry and heading to bed. I’ll try to do likewise tomorrow. The “micro-blogging” medium of Twitter and Facebook is suitable only for the most superficial of updates; to say anything that has any meaning to either myself or anyone else requires more space. So I suppose I’ll try to do “mini-blogging” instead. Not the long, detailed posts I would prefer to write had I the time and energy, but whatever words I can wring out onto your screen in the space between the things it seems I have to do.
Like going to bed, roughly now-ish.