Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The Luxurious Necessity of Reading
Even last night, I woke in the middle of the night with a fantastic blog post in my head - something about photography and bokeh and aperatures, and how it all relates to writing stories. I'm still trying to remember that one, because in my foggy, sleepy head it was brilliant.
I don't blog enough because I just am not making the time these days. It feels like both a necessity and a luxury, but in these summer months when I'm either traveling or entertaining kids, it's a miracle I can keep my brain from oozing out my ears.
This weekend, after my husband returned from a long business trip, I took Sunday afternoon off and laid by the side of the pool in the sweltering sun... and read. A book. That I wanted to read.
It sounds easy but it wasn't. Choosing the book alone was difficult. I've got a teetering pile of 16 books I've bought with the intention of reading that I've barely cracked. A few of them I've ventured into a chapter or more, but been bored with.
That's right. Bored.
There's a stress I put on myself in the summer... to find a great beach read. One of those easy, captivating, can't put down eye/brain-candy kind of books. And somehow I've found myself with a TBR pile of serious literary fiction. Did I mention my brain is a little melty right now?
But Sunday I hit the right one, and I lazed about for several hours devouring it.
When Monday rolled around, I kept sneaking into it, reading snippits as I cooked dinner or cleaned the vaccum attachment that suddenly stopped working. (Hey, if you've gotta be standing at the counter holding a screwdriver and mindlessly pulling hair and carpet fibers from a machine, you might as well have a book open while you're doing it).
I told a friend I couldn't wait to get into grad school so I could justify curling up with a good book as work.
Then, somewhere in the last third of the book, as I was reading and mentally filing lists of things to change and add and tweak in my own novel, I realized it was work. It was, in some sense, good for my writing, and for my future career, to read good books. I can honestly say now that I learned some great writing tips from reading this weekend. Things about structure, and slipping in important details and background as the story progresses to add layers and depth and tension.
I rarely drag out reading books though, and so tonight I'm already done with it and wondering what to do next. Ignore my family and read another good book? Ignore my family and dive back into my WIP? Or go back to doing 5 loads of laundry and 5 rounds of dishes a day?