What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Author in the Bibliophile May 21, 2014

Filed under: Starting Off Strange — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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When I was little, I loved to read. Even before I knew how to read all I wanted to do was sit on a nice cuddly lap and be read to. I would toddle up to my mom and say, “Read me!” She would tell me to go lick a book (Really, I meant to type pick a book, but lick a book was so funny, I wanted to keep it in there for your reading enjoyment). I would pick as many as my chubby little arms could carry and insist she read me the entire pile before freeing her for a few minutes until my next demand of “read me.”

Once I was old enough to choose books based on more than color, texture, and ability to fulfill oral fixation, we had gotten to the bedtime story wars. My sister and I were supposed to take turns choosing the book. She would always let me have my turn after hiding the books I wanted on the highest shelf. And these weren’t normal bookshelves. Our books lived in stacked plastic milk crates in front of a second story window. I didn’t care that I was taking my little life into my hands climbing the crates to get to the book that I wanted, no, needed to be read to me that night. It was worth the risk to hear the story.

Now that I spend most of my free time working on writing and editing my own books, I find I miss getting to read as much as I used to. I love my characters and don’t want to abandon them to play with characters I don’t even know. It feels like cheating. But I know my writing will be stronger if I continue to read. I’m working on finding a balance. And now that I have books by my fellow Silence in the Library authors, I hope I can keep myself to my daily reading diet.

Spending time working in an area you love is dangerous. You risk losing the love amidst the daily grind of productivity. But I’ve managed to love theatre while being a professional performer for a while. I hope I can do the same thing with being a bibliophile and author.


2 Responses to “The Author in the Bibliophile”

  1. Love this story. I also find that when I’m stuck in my own writing, it helps to do some reading. It helps me to see how other characters survive a fight scene, deal with grief or discipline a child….

  2. Unfortunately, my reading time and energy for new stuff comes from the same tiny pile of energy that my writing needs – so I go on the billions of books in my mind – and try not to get caught reading, because there go way too many hours of my ‘good time.’

    I figure I’ll have lots of time for reading when the brain won’t do writing any more, and demand that Heaven be full of books (or I’m not going).

    If you have time for both, do both. But anybody can read – and few of us have chosen to learn how to write, and sometimes sacrifices must be made.

    I still get ambushed – and read a lot of books every year – but that’s the intent: writing first.

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