Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Reading Life

A friend recently asked about my writing habits and aspirations, and though I answered the question simply enough, it made me remember something I had written nearly a year ago for a completely different audience. Nonetheless, its words speak true to my current life as a dedicated reader and occasional writer-dabbler, so I'll repeat myself here...

like every other girl who ever dreamed of becoming an author but graduated from college pursuing more practical career goals, I keep a notebook around most of the time, in case that one true story ever falls out of the blue clear sky. in the meantime, that notebook gets filled with minutiae and grocery lists, the occasional musing or rehashing of my uniquely dysfunctional family for the millionth time. online, I find myself blathering about benign misadventures in far-off places and mumbling my discontent with the world. somewhere in my mind, I berate my home and my roots for offering such meager material: surely there should be some great tale to be mined from the missouri river mud, but so far it seems that mark twain told every damn one.

instead, I read. I read sometimes like I'm drowning - a book in a day, never rushing my pace but simply ignoring everything else for the sake of the story. I fall in love with alice munro, whose women always make me feel less neurotic and offer vague hope for my wandering future. I wonder at andré gide and find myself wishing I possessed the theology (or the poetry) to open a dialogue about human nature. I get lost in gabriel garcía márquez and return to find the solid world made unfamiliar by his vivid reimaginings. I feel alive, sparked and yet isolated by this intimate consumption of others' thoughts. I want to write, but they leave my mute in my appreciation and humbled in my abilities. the reading list forever grows while the notebook is overrun with doodles: the truest reader makes a lousy writer.

1 comment:

QSS said...

one wonders if the missouri river mud surrenders gold with a half life longer than five-by-sixtyone days, else there would be a tenable longevity to these words at which to smile, and say good story.