HOW TO READ A BOOK or WRITE ONE

On those days at the hotel when nothing is happening, I am torn. Do I pick up a
book knowing that immediately after I find the page where I left off things will
begin to happen? Or do I dwell thoughtlessly like a sodden lump in semi-
stupefied mindlessness, while nothing happens all around me at a pace that
would make Eternity fidget with impatience?

I read all 1832 pages of the Count of Monte Cristo, six words at a time.

The count entered the darkened chamber…
“Yes, how may I help you?....”
(Fourteen minutes later)..... “Thank you, Madam, I assure you that we beat our
maids as thoroughly as the very finest establishment.”

The count entered the darkened chamber…
“Yes, front desk...? You turn the knob and while leaning inward with the weight of
your body, the door should open…Clockwise, I believe…It’s that thing you put
your hand on. I’m sure your doors at home all have one.”

The count entered the darkened chamber…
“Yes, front desk...? It’s the same one you came down in…you may have gone UP
in it to get to your room…Yes, please, by all means use the stairs; they go both
ways as well.”
The count entered the darkened chamber…

For me, it’s not just in the office that my reading is interrupted. It reaches us in
our little rooms as well. If I’m watching complete idiocy on TV nothing will happen
(NOTHING); no phone will ring, no knock will come upon our door, allowing me to
drown in my own shame, between commercials. But, if I pick up a good book…

The count entered the darkened chamber…
“Yes? ….Well, I’m not in the office at the moment, so, I can not help
you…Because, I’m not in the office, and I don’t have access to the chart, but you
can speak to…Yes, but you can speak…Yes, but you can…I understand. You
can speak to anyone at the desk and they will be glad to help you…..No, I’m
sorry, I don’t have any way to transfer you. Yes, that would be…but, you’ll have
to call back. I can’t…Yes, I agree. That would seem logical to me as well, And
believe…Yes, that’s the way I would do it if I ran a hotel as well…Yes, but I don’t
make these decisions.  I would if I could….Yes, but, I’m not in the office right now.
Please…PLEASE, speak to anyone at the desk; they’ll be glad to help
you…Because, I’m not IN the office. I don’t have access to the chart…No, that’s
not correct. I WOULD help you if I could. Yes, I WOULD. NO, I’m not. I’ve tried to
explain to…OK. We’ve been through this. I am not IN the office. No. We’ve been
through that too. No, that's not rude. Call back and speak…  Well, see, now
THAT’S rude.”

The count entered the darkened chamber…
“Yes? What room? Are the guests in there right now? Did they say it wasn’t
flushing or that it was spilling all over the floor? Alright, I’ll be right out. For god’s
sake!”

I know how to read a book, and that is not how.

This is how to read a book:
Line the outside of your door with something which renders all knocking useless
(I’ve discovered that four inches of styrofoam is not enough). Next, you unplug
the phone. Then, you stretch out on the couch, place a warm and contented cat
upon your stomach, and you read. But, that's only a dream of course. Reading is
not possible anywhere in this hotel, even on the slowest day. On those days, IF
nothing is happening and you do not read, nothing will continue to happen
and…it will happen very slowly indeed. If you attempt to read however, there will
be no end to the disruption. Unfortunately, that is orchestrated from above (and
by that I mean unavoidable.) BUT…while sequestered in your little rooms, if
circumstance will not allow you to read, you can always turn to writing.

This book was written six words at a time, between phone calls, plunging toilets,
replacing door knobs, searching for the owner’s keys, ignoring, offending and
mistreating guests, and tending to the daily things that make up the bizarre world
of the small privately-owned French hotel, while balancing a ball on the end of
my nose. Admittedly, my writing method probably made the task somewhat more
arduous than it might have otherwise been. My usual working method is to fill up
several dozen pages with commas and then go back in and start inserting words.
You might have seen evidence of that here.
I don’t recommend it.
An Excerpt from: