The Trouble with Reading

Tie Dye of the Day

Most of the writers I’ve encountered all seem to have a love affair with reading. They grew up reading and devouring every single book they can get their greedy little hands on. They loved reading so, naturally, the took the next step and started writing.
That story, however, is NOT how I became a writer. I had just the opposite happen to me. When I went to kindergarten I was behind in my reading skills. I struggled through kindergarten, and then the first grade. I went to summer school somewhere in there, but no one could help me get better at reading, it seemed. That’s when my parents laid down a ridiculous amount of money and sent me to Sylven Learning center, and after one summer, like magic, I was reading like a pro. By the time I got to the fifth grade, I was reading at a twelfth grade level, at least that is what the Iowa test thingy said. Despite that, I really didn’t like to read, or write, or study, or do much of anything that had to do with school, but I did carry around large adult books to my elementary classes. My favorite was Stephen King’s The Langoliers, but only because I saw the made for tv movie first. What can I say? I’m a Balkie fan.
My mom was a very heavy reader, so I started reading the books she read. I basically skipped over YA and middle grade fiction. I carried all those mainstream novels around with me for years, but I never actually liked them. I developed a complex where if I didn’t like the book within the first few pages I threw it away and never looked at it again. If the flow wasn’t just right, or if the author said anything the least bit offensive (there are actually single words that if I see anywhere in the book, it’s a gonner) I would never look at the book again. I am probably the most intolerant reader I know.
So, I became a writer, not because I loved books, but because I just could not find a single book that I wanted to read!
I find that funny looking back almost fifteen years later. I probably should have been reading YA, but beyond my own school library, I didn’t even know it existed. I just wasn’t getting what I wanted from the books my mom liked, and I wasn’t even aware the kinds of books I would eventually find I liked to read even existed until I graduated high school. Barnes and Noble was there. Where was I?
When I found my first romance novel, I was in my local Med-X pharmacy. They had big ole fat romances with pretty pictures on the front, and stories inside that made me tingle. From then on whenever I went to the pharmacy I always picked up two or three novels while I was there. In my opinion, and this still remains true, the best books come from the pharmacies. I am also happy to report that I have graduated to actual book stores. Yea me! I found what I was looking for, finally.
So now I am a writer who likes to read, but not all that much. That is where the trouble with reading presents itself for me. There are just so many book out there, and authors everywhere are saying read read read! I am right there with them on this. It is important for a writer to read, but it is also important for a writer to write. When I get an extra moment to myself to sit down and crack open a book, something comes over me. I start to shake, and a little voice starts talking to me. It says, “Hey Teri, shouldn’t you be writing?” After a moment or two, I concur and pick up my notebook instead of reading other people’s work.

Picky picky picky, I am. I do love to read when I find a gem amongst the miles of other books that I don’t really want to read. I can stand there for hours reading cover after cover…By the way, I get really pissed when they don’t have a description on the cover. I won’t even look at it…Something comes over me after I’ve spent several hours searching for the perfect book. I start to shake, and a little vice starts talking to me. It says, “Hey Teri, shouldn’t you be writing?” Then I purse my lips angrily, go home, and pick up my pen. Is there no hope for me? Oh well, it is what it is.

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  1. I know EXACTLY what you mean. I suffer the same dilemma! I feel like I am cheating when I take time to read, but I need to read to be a better writer. I so get it. 🙂

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 11 months ago

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