This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, December 5, 1990

December 5, 1990 - Tired

I'm tired.

There comes a time in everyone's life when he or she just doesn't want to do a darn thing, or at least nothing useful. This is my time.

Renee Chastant, a friend of mine, came up with a wonderful phrase to describe the only thing I feel like doing lately: "power lounging." Power lounging, or the executive sprawl, is the ideal recreation for the harried professional.

To the casual observer, power lounging looks a lot like malingering, or what your mother might have called "lying around."

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Power lounging enables the sincere practitioner to idle the emotional engine, give the brain a break, and soothe the bothered and bewildered body.

Racehorses need rest. CEOs need sleep. Even computers take five now and then.

But let's face it. Even the utterly exhausted businessperson won't be satisfied for very long with doing absolutely nothing.

Some people watch old TV sitcoms. Some rent movies. What I do is to read something I've already read.

I see a lot of new books at work. But at home I hunker down with my old favorites. When you really want to get away from it all, you don't want to have to gear up for something brand new. A book that you've read not just twice but many times, is as warm and comforting as a down quilt: no surprises, a sure and familiar result, a story you can relax into with confidence and gratitude.

I keep coming back to the books that really influenced me, that I discovered in my most formative years. I drowse over Strunk and White's "Elements of Style." I re-read the books of J.D. Salinger, particularly the ones about the spiritually engrossing Glass family. About once a year or so, I plow through Ayn Rand's one thousand-plus page opus, "Atlas Shrugged." The late great science fiction author, Robert Heinlein, wrote an unsurpassed series of books for juveniles. I re-read about one a month. I savor chapters from the Tao te Ching, the power lounger's bible. On wet and windy nights, I ponder Edgar Allen Poe's somber poem, "The Raven." Or I accompany Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson into the fog, or eavesdrop on Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey as he woos the ever-feisty but endearing Harriet Vane.

And, it goes without saying, I read anything and everything by Dr. Seuss, preferably aloud. (That's what's great about kid's books. You can read them to kids, and they think you're doing it for them.)

You can tell a lot about people by what they read. But you can tell even more by what they read over and over.

So as we slip, slide, and cough our way into the winter, I urge you to rediscover your past: snuggle back into the good books that made you who you are. Come down to the library and tell us about them. Take them home with you. Stay up late reading a few nights.

And sleep in.

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