Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Rare Indulgence

One of the most common bits of advice an aspiring author gets is: Read. Read, read. Read read read read. It doesn't seem like something you should have to remind someone so in love with stories that they want to tell them for a living. Yet, once you begin writing, subbing, editing, publishing, distributing, marketing, writing more and...repeat, the impetus to read can quite easily drift into the background.

For me it was a time thing. I have small children. I homeschool. I clean house (okay, not as much as I should) and I write books. Reading them has always been a favorite pastime, but then, so is bathing and moms out there will know how hard it is to squeeze even those in. On my list of things to do when I do manage to steal a free moment, reading fell a little behind for awhile. It was lodged somewhere behind, sleep, shower and spend five minutes in total silence.

For some I know, reading for pleasure has dimmed somewhat in the afterglow of becoming a writer. It can be hard to set aside the editor's hat, hard to lose oneself in the experience without being affected by everything you know or want to know about the craft. Being a natural at slipping out of reality, I haven't had that problem, but it happens.

Some authors I know read their friends books, fellow author's books, and have little time at all for any reading beyond that. Their life is an endless string of critiques and beta readings. Not a bad thing, certainly, but not exactly the full escapism that can come from immersion in a strictly reading for pleasure kind of way.

Well this month I reacquainted myself with pleasure reading. It started when a friend read an excerpt from the Hunger Games out loud at our writing group. I borrowed the book, read it, devoured the next two...and didn't want to stop. Oh! How delicious it was to dive into someone else's world for a change. How absolutely, decadent, how selfish. I wanted more. I pulled out a book I'd started a few years back and I finished it. I borrowed The Giver from someone and read it in one sitting. I remember this. This, is why I write in the first place.

This is the magic that started it all.

Read.

Such simple advice. Such glorious, fleeting, complex advice. read read read.
Try not to forget it, my friends. And when you do, when I do, when time squeezes in again, let's all remember to share something irresistible from time to time and lure each other out of our bubbles and into someone else's.