Saturday, July 9, 2011

Has Writing Ruined Reading?

I've always been a reader (well, at least since the ripe old age of 5).

I used to bring a book with me almost every where I went. Sometimes to the chagrin of my mother who once gently pulled me aside and said, "Please don't take a book to Youth Group. It's kind of insulting to the Youth Pastor."

"Heidi, get your nose out of that book and look at the beautiful mountain, valley, rain, major league baseball game, etc." were also words I often heard during family vacations.

Kind of funny, since my mom was an English teacher, and her mother a one-room school teacher before her.

But reading opened up worlds for me.

Who knew what adventures awaited a little girl named Half-Pint who traveled in a covered wagon to a new home? Or the four Pevensie's who found imaginary lands through the door of a wardrobe.

As a child, I raced through desert sands on the back of an Arabian horse, and solved mysteries with a young girl detective.

As a college student, I pondered Heathcliff & Catherine's love while their moor's harsh winds whipped around me, and Oliver's want for family while I walked his London streets.

As an adult, I still fall asleep most nights with a fresh adventure or romance swirling in my brain.

However, after writing Pearl, books have taken on a new edge.

Sometimes as I'm reading about what happened before the actual story, I find myself screaming, "Backstory. You're using backstory." Or, I'll subconsciously (1) count adverbs.

With better, more engaging writing, I'll wonder, "How does she do that? Put words together to make phenomenal, picturesque phrases?"

(The most recent author who has caused me to suck in my breath in wonder is Ann Voskamp -- her blog link A Holy Experience is to the right. Click on it. You won't be disappointed.)

So, to answer the original question, (Has writing ruined reading?) I must admit that yes, sometimes it has. But mostly, it has enriched my reading experience.

I now dismiss poor writing quickly.

But rich writing intrigues me more fully.

And shouldn't engaging the reader be the sole intention of the writer?

1 comment:

  1. I ADORE Ann Voskamp, I've never read writing like hers at all. It's fabulous . . . did you know Mick Silva (Sheri's husband) edited her book? I'm sure you did, but it makes me feel nearly famous since Sheri and I were roomies for the 1 semester that she was at Bethel on consortium.
    Happy reading to you!