Lamar Giles
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Are you reading? You should be.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot…reading is the creative center of a writer’s life…you cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.” ~ Stephen King, On Writing

When I was a kid, I would go shopping with my mother and I always wanted her to buy me stuff. Cereal with cartoon monsters on the box if we were in a grocery store. A dog if we passed a pet store. Lord help her if a toy store was nearby (for the record, I was seriously hooked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). No matter where we went, I wanted something.

In retrospect, I understand my mother’s frustration (and she did get frustrated). My wants had no financial grounding. What child understands the value of a dollar?

My lofty requests were often denied, which led to disappointment/anger (emotions I didn’t dare express in any quantifiable way…Mom’s patience only went so far). I was no dummy, and I soon picked up on a pattern. Mom would most likely deny wasteful requests (toys become boring after awhile and disappear into the closet; 3/4 of the Count Chocula box gets tossed because it doesn’t taste as good as it looks). But she never, not once, denied me a book.

There I was, a kid who ALWAYS wanted something, discovering an endless well to sate my desires…provided those desires where printed, bound, and paperback (hardcovers were pricey back then, too).

Maybe I didn’t get a Feudal Japan Michaelango with Swinging Nunchuck action, but I got something a lot better that lasted much longer. My calling…

Writers Read. Period.

I’ve met a number of people who say they want to write, or have started, a novel. When I ask them what they like to read, too many respond, “I don’t have time.”

I could go on at length about this, but Stephen King’s quote from above says it best. I will say this, however. Every profession requires some sort of reading (particularly if you want to be proficient in modern techniques). Doctor’s read medical texts. Carpenters probably read some sort of carpentry journal.

Why on earth do people think they can skip the all important task of reading and still be trusted to string together words others want to read?

When my Mom fed me a steady diet of words, I thought it was because books were cheaper than toys or Nintendo games. In reality, they weren’t, not the way I flew through them. But, I think she had innate understanding of the point I’m trying to make.

Reading can prepare you, if only minimally, for anything.

For my desired profession, the minimal is not enough. I’m a writer, I read all the time.

What about you?

Last Book Completed: The Darkness on the Edge of Town by Brian Keene

Thoroughly enjoyed this. Had the pleasure to meet Brian several years ago at a conference when he was achieving Rock Star status with his debut zombie novel THE RISING. This was a nice re-introduction to his work. Will definitely pick up more from this author.

Next on the Reading List: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

It’s starting a little slow, but I’m determined to stick with it. With all the buzz this series has gotten, it’s almost a mandatory read.

What are you reading?

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