Sunday, September 13, 2015

Not Reading

I attended an author fair at the Carmel Public Library on a recent summer Saturday afternoon. More than twenty authors gathered to sell their publications and interact with visitors.

Talking with other writers inspires me. I love learning why he or she is interested in a particular topic to write a book. Intrigued, I went from table to table, skimming books and chatting with the authors. Three different writers asked me the same question that was an unexpected query, "What type of books do you like to read?"

I was stumped!! First, I didn't expect an author to ask me a question and second, I had to reveal my lack of reading during the past several years.

Embarrassed, I replied to each, "I haven't been reading. I write." My brief response ended the conversation and I walked to the next table.

Not reading books during the past few years has left a gap in my life. I miss getting lost in a book, thinking about the plot while I am at work or driving, eager to return to read what was going to happen with my favorite character or how the plot would evolve.

I learned a long time ago that reading expands vocabulary, inspires imagination and is especially helpful for those who like to write.

One of my favorite blog writers is Charity Singleton Craig. When I see Charity's writing appear in my email, I click immediately. Her post on August 27, "Read and Respond: Writing Comes from Reading," chronicles her path of reading beginning when she was four. Charity references another writer, L. L. Barkat, who comments in her blog, "Green Inventions Central" on August 25, 2011, about her fourteen year old daughter's passion for writing poetry is due to her prolific reading. L. L. Barkat says, "All that reading, I'm convinced has shaped her writing."

Maybe all of the reading I used to do has influenced my writing, the writing I do today. Much of my reading as an adult involved authors and their processes of writing including Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Madeleine L'Engle, and Kathleen Norris, all of whom have a reflective, self-exploring style. 

The day after the author fair I stopped by the library in the church I attend, hoping once again to find a book to read. After all, since "reading comes from writing," I was desperate. I chose a book by Robert Hamma called Landscapes of the Soul: A Spirituality of Place.

The author shares a story in the introduction about a third century monk, St. Antony, who is asked by a philosopher how he can survive without books. St. Antony's reply gives me comfort: "My book, sir philosopher, is the nature of created things, and it is always at hand when I wish to read the words of God."

Although I haven't advanced beyond the introduction, I did receive encouragement for my lack of reading by learning than an awareness of God as I look deeply at people, things, events and experiences in my world, will let me find God there ...... and write what I discover.

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