I never thought I would say that. I’ve been an avid reader all my life. On vacation, my suitcase hit the maximum weight limit due to the layer of books in the bottom. If I walk out the door, I have a book in my bag. Just in case, that line in the grocery is really long, or the dentist can’t see me quite yet, or . . . I haunt bookstores. Even when I was busy raising a family, I read, not only for myself but I read to my children, instilling a similar love in them. I started reading Golden books, Nancy Drew, children’s classics (I always wanted to go live with grandfather in the Alps, like Heidi, even though my lovely grandparents were firmly planted in Indiana and New York) and continued on into adulthood, with more grown up fare.
Until recently. Oh, I still love reading good stories; I’m just not doing it much. I still love books, but I find it harder to get lost within their pages. For a proud bookaholic, that’s an embarrassing admission.
I’ve been trying to figure out why the change, and what to do about it. Because I miss that piece of my life.
Perhaps it’s an inevitable side effect of being a writer, oxymoronic as that may sound. But, if I have a block of time, I spend it writing. Or reading for research instead of enjoyment. (Like that stack of articles about Icelandic volcanoes I read while I was researching Gryphon Unleashed.) Beyond the time factor, there’s also the potential of subconsciously picking up something that would slant my story and voice or getting too distracted by technique.
Bu t, my drought isn’t all writer-induced. The best pleasure reading, for me, is immersive. I am there, with those characters, experiencing their fear and passion. (My family figured they could light firecrackers beside me and I’d pay no attention if I was reading) But, in addition to writing, I also work a 40+ full time job. I do have to be alert and focused when I’m counseling patients and dispensing medicine. I can’t stay up to 3 am reading and still function the next day the way I need to. And when I come home, my mind wants to shut off and chill.
Top Chef instead of the top of the to-be- read pile.
I’m working my way back from my book exile. I try to go to bed a half an hour earlier, so I can read and still turn off the light on time. With nicer weather, I go outside on my lunch hour and read, instead of getting distracted by conversion and interrupted by phone calls. I pick comfort reads or something very different to engage my mind or shorter books or something with a fascinating blurb. The pleasure is still there, being gradually rediscovered and savored.
So, I’ll ask you, other readers. Have you had times in your life where your love of reading got shunted aside? What caused it? How did you manage to keep, or regain, that sparkle?
Let me know and I’ll randomly pick one reader to receive your choice of an autographed copy of < ahref="http://freshfiction.com/book.php?id=19863">Phoenix Unrisen or a sneak peak at the first four chapters of Gryphon Unleashed, coming out in December.
To comment for a chance to win please click here.