Reading and writing go hand in hand, but aren’t always…

In step. When I’m writing every day, hours a day, I’ll glance at the photographs in magazines, read bits of news, but rarely escape with a book. The left hand side of my night stand is decorated with a tall stack of books that I won’t fall asleep to or read until my thighs go numb on the toilet seat.

When I write, I pound at the keyboard. I go through keyboards, like truckers go through tires. Every letter and punctuation mark that pushes through the bottleneck in my brain, faces me with a boldness that’s inexplicably satisfying. The only book I can read, while I write, is my own. It’s just my manuscript and me, intertwined twenty-four hours a day until the end. It’s not always a pretty picture!

But, when I’m done, I retreat to my stacks, scout around my shrines–my favorite book stores, and anticipate dog-eared recommendations. When I completed the final revision of Stretch Marks, these books were waiting for me… 

  • Michael Sims, The Story of Charlotte’s Web 
  • Diana Souhami’s, Gertrude & Alice
  • Claire Dederer’s, Poser
  • Reread Lilian Hellman’s, Pentimento
  • Kevin Wilson’s, The Family Fang
  • Victor Villaseñor’s, Crazy Loco Love


4 thoughts on “Reading and writing go hand in hand, but aren’t always…

  1. I get such solace from knowing that I am not the only writer who simply cannot read while I am working on my manuscript. It often plagues me with guilt, thinking that I should be reading the very latest on the bestseller lists. But somehow, just like you said, it’s not possible while one is writing. It’s really an exclusive affair between you and your manuscript.
    But, like you, I have stacks left and right on my desk of favorite books and LOVED reading your list. I wanted to run and get them right away even though I know I will likely not read them till this current round of revision is done. Still, I wanted them!!! and that showed me how alive the passion for books is in my blood. And that alone is balm for now.
    Thank you as always for a great post.

  2. The music and art part of my brain is exactly the same as you writers. When I am teaching I can’t do my own work, but ah, the weekend comes, the peace and quiet and out comes my sketchpad or my flute, or the piano calls to me and I loose myself for hours, not talking to anyone….the sound of the ocean lulls me to a call place inside myself and I see colors, I hear music, I want to create and make it my own…….

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