Shortly after I did a “WHAT I’M READING – BLESS ME, ULTIMA,” my friend JR and I were talking, and I admitted I’d never read The Milagro Beanfield War. Now here’s the reason, and it kind of stupid. Tell me I have to do something, and I’ll balk at it. The Milagro Beanfield War was required reading in a class I took. Guess who didn’t read it. I settled for a “D” in that class all because I didn’t care to read it.

They tell me that a writer needs to read, and not just what he’s interested in writing. Back in high school, I wrote Science Fiction (not bad, but at the end of the day 90% of it was a Star Trek clone). I read tons of Clarke, Bradbury, and the like. Not so much anything else unless you want to count history.

I’ve come to realize I’m a much poorer man for being so pig headed (makes you wonder how I managed not only to survive, but thrive in the Army, an organization known for making you do things you don’t want to do).

While I’ve had parts in Shakespeare plays, I’ve never actually sat down and read one. I read Plato’s Republic, but can’t tell you two things he had to say in it. Walden? Why would I want to read something the original hippie wrote? Add to that dozens of other books my teachers thought I should read and never did.

End result? I find I’ve a rather large hole in my education. There’s whole worlds out there I didn’t bother to explore or even give a chance, all in the holy name of “I don’t want to!” I didn’t allow myself to enter those worlds and see what they had to offer, or to live in them for at least a little while.

Like I said. Kind of stupid, isn’t it?

So, JR sent me a copy of The Milagro Beanfield War. I wondered what I was going to read after I’d finished with General Doolittle, and now I know.

I’ve got this funny feeling I’ll be kicking myself for not having read it years ago.

And who knows, maybe I’ll take a walk around Walden Pond next.