Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Writing Life, Reading Life

Sunday involved my perfect morning.

I got up before my wife, and spent the morning reading the newspaper on the back porch before the day got too hot. I'm captivated by the Supreme Court's health care decision, and by the reaction to it.

As I was reading, I was reminded how little blogging I've done lately. I feel a little guilty about it.

I know that it is the writer's standard response to claim to have not written enough or well enough lately. I know that this claim is two-parts deflection and two-parts ego. I've claimed it all my writing life.

If I am not writing enough, it is because I know I am capable of more, of better. "Don't judge me by my output; judge my potential."

But as I've gotten older, I've become more and more certain that reading is a crucial part of the writing life. When I was younger (before full time jobs and a wife and a life set at my own schedule), I read constantly. So, when I sat down to write, the metaphorical pump was already primed.

I figure that I spend roughly three-quarters of my life consumed by words- either writing or reading emails at work, writing or reading at home for pleasure, and reading for news. The last quarter is basically taken up by food and board games.

Lately, I've been swallowed by 3 books representing each of the three genres: a fiction (Falcons on the Floor), a non-fiction (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lackes), and a book of poetry (Listening for Earthquakes). I've read them more slowly than most of my recent books, in part because I've been struck by the way they've communicated with each other. In part, this is because Immortal Life is a book about the research and writing of the book.

So I spent the morning reading the paper, thinking about all the writing I could be doing, about the reading I could be doing. And ultimately, I decided I was doing just what I needed to.

1 comment:

  1. I think that's exactly right. We need enough time to let things process, so good writing doesn't just need good reading, it needs good walking, snoozing, snuggling, swimming, work, etc. So good job! :)