The other day I was telling someone about a really terrible novel I'd just finished. I promised myself months ago that I would no longer force myself to finish books that are not good (there's only one or maybe two books I've ever left unfinished, ever). But this one was a mystery and my desire to find out what happened overruled the mediocre prose, shallow characters, and tenuous grip on the setting.
The person asked if I often read fiction. Oh yes...I read a lot of fiction. Much of it mediocre, but much of it deliciously wonderful too.
Fiction is one of the ways I fill my pitcher. I devour books, trying to get inside the minds of characters, wandering with them through faraway landscapes and interesting times. I'm currently trying not to read too fast on a second draft of a fantastic novel a friend has written. I may have to resign myself to devouring it and then going back to read more slowly for editing. :-) I'm also midway through the Game of Thrones series--just finished book 2. And my book group is reading A Casual Vacancy (the not-at-all-Harry-Potter adult novel by JKR). These books are all SO SO DIFFERENT. Add in the serious novel at my bedside, and the young adult novels that take place in Disneyworld that I just picked up today, and we have a recipe for filling my pitcher. Of course, I may never leave my house again because I'm busy curled up with a book.
Other things I like to do to fill my pitcher: cook. Watch kids movies. Praying in Color. classical music. Stuff You Missed In History Class podcasts. massage. sometimes blog.
I like to pretend that exercise fills my pitcher, and serious intense dramas that win foreign film awards, and other things that cool smart people spend their time talking about and being proud of doing...but really my soul needs more frills than that, because much of my work is intense. Once I realized that it was okay to revel in a princess book and a Pixar movie, that it was okay to just re-read Isaiah 55 and Mark 2 hundreds of times, that I could just relax because who was out there judging my self-care anyway??....well, life just got a lot better.
It's not that I don't enjoy serious movies or thought-provoking nonfiction, it's just that those things are not my go-to stress relievers. They drain my pitcher, not fill it.
What do you do to fill your pitcher?