Reading for Pleasure

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Good morning darlings! Happy Sunday.

This weekend I have rediscovered a passion that I have neglected for far too long. Reading for pleasure. It's common knowledge that good writers are voracious readers. But, we are also busy as hell most of the time, and too often the first thing to fall from our to do list is to sit down and read for hour long stretches.

This is an absolute shame, because reading is what made most of us long to be writers in the first place. A book, an author, a story that called to our inner crazy and said to it "why aren't you doing this too?"

I've had a lot of influences in my life. One of the biggest may be surprising, as Stephen King and I couldn't have more different genres we write in. But it wasn't about the content. It was about doing what is most loved, what speaks to us, and doing it prolifically and well every time. This is the connection I have with the world's leading horror writer. (I hope the 'well' part, any way.)

I have been listening to Mr. King give talks on YouTube for the last couple of days, and the more recent ones had a lot to do with his newest Trilogy. The first book, Mr. Mercedes was conceived from a news story. The nugget stayed with him and when he started to work on it, he imagined a short story. Then he sat down to write it and it ended up being a three novel series. This is another thing I have in common with the King of Horror (Sorry, couldn't help it.) When I sit down to write, I rarely know for sure where my story is going to take me.

I've loved Stephen King since elementary school when I grabbed a tattered copy of The Gunslinger off my stepdad's book shelf. From that one book, a lifetime fan was born. I devoured the books that were available for that series. I moved on to It, The Stand, and The Shining.

Now, I will admit, I don't like all of his books. And that's okay. I don't have to. Some of them did not speak to me. And the ones that did were often his less popular works. My all time favorite Stephen King book, of his many, many titles, is From a Buick 8.

I think this book clearly demonstrates what Stephen King is most brilliant at breaking down. Relationships. In all of his books, at the center of every story he tells, it is the relationships between his characters that grip me and hold tight. I can give or take the monsters. That's not what makes him my favorite author. His skill at creating people that you care about, hate with a passion, cry for, laugh at, sometimes want to choke to death with your bare hands. THIS is what I live to read in his novels. And From a Buick 8 was such a beautiful demonstration of this. His ability to bridge a gap between a kid and his deceased father, to make you feel for them and want to throttle them sometimes. To make you wish things could have been different for these fictional people. It's just amazing to me. It makes me want to be a better writer.

I've always focused on my characters more strongly than any other aspect. It's probably why I feel I'm so much better at dialogue than I am at world building. I want people to love, hate, be amused by and want to sac-tap my characters on every page. The connection between people is so important when doing something as solitary as reading.

So this weekend, instead of doing chores, instead of laundry and shopping and cooking. Instead of Instagramming my broken shoe, Facebooking memes, Tweeting nonsense, I read. I devoured a book as one who has been stranded in a desert devours a bottle of Dasani. Because that's what I've been doing, starving for my favorite past time. Aching to reclaim the reason I became a writer in the first place. I read, my darlings. And it was the best weekend I've had in so long, I can't wait to do it again.

Remember, time spent doing what you love is NEVER time wasted.

All my love,
D

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