Should I?

Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store.
Image via Wikipedia

I take you back many, many…many years ago to when I was a child.  My father, having introducing me to the wonderful world of literature, gave me free license (ok, there were some restrictions) to his library.  Back then there were probably at least 200 books give or take 50 or so (it has grown significantly since then) and, being a busy 9 year old I was, I snatched any time I could read to do so.  Why?  Because it was fun!

Fast forward a few years to High School and the trend continues, between classes or waiting for a class to start.  Lunch time, walks home….you get the picture.  Once read 1000 pg book in one week.  Yes, I was voracious.

Ha!  Was.  That’s funny.  I’m still voracious….but I digress.

When I was 14 I was introduced to writing stories for myself.  I created worlds, put them on paper, and had a lot of fun doing it.  Like reading, writing was just as fun.  But somewhere between 14 and now I had stopped reading for the sake of reading.  Of popping off into some unique adventure that I would never have.  Instead I began to read to get tips, hints, and nudges into format, content, dialog examples….I’d go on, but again I’d digress by doing so.

Reading is still fun, don’t get me wrong, but the essence of what attracted my reading habits has changed so dramatically that sometimes I pull myself up short and ask, “When did I stop reading for fun?”  Then, following that thought is the question of whether I can do it again.  Can I….or perhaps the better question is, should I?  Should I stop looking for the minute details and tricks of the trade just so I can recapture that wild abandon of a child devouring a fantastic book?  Would it be in my best interest?  Or would I end up missing out on something that I’d only be able to see with a critical eye?

Questions, questions…so many questions.

Ultimately I believe that if you’re going to write a good story, you have to read good stories.  Reading, with frequency, is key to understanding storytelling.  I know this within my soul, and that’s what all the advice says about the subject matter.  But like I said, there are times when I wonder….should I?


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