“Do you like reading?“. This is one of the first questions I ask people that I’m interested in. I’m not particular about what exactly, just curious if they are in the habit. My opinion is that the more you read, the better you ultimately get to understand yourself (and others).
Do you remember the first book you read? Is there something that sparked this passion?
Some of the first books I actually read were from “A thousand and one nights” collection, won as first prize in first and second grade (based on grades, the school gave prizes, usually books, to the best students – everyone got first prize in first grade…). I remember being sneaky and reading them under the covers. This gave me a taste of how powerful imagination can be.
Then I graduated to Jules Verne. Being around 10-12 years old, reading about great adventures in exotic places, submarines and giant sea creatures, genuinely changed my life. Started being fascinated by science and technology.
Unfortunately, I then proceeded to read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Fin who were mischievous little boys. I continued reading but my endeavors led me on to a less artistically creative path and more…(self) destructive one. My focus shifted towards the human mind and social interactions.
Among the services I provide in my freelancing career are proofreading and editing any text. I get to read and critique works from former students, posts and blogs from acquaintances and even manuscripts from clients.
It’s usually the people who are big readers that try their hand at writing. I’m not deluding myself that I’m any good, I probably have a couple of interesting short stories in me, but I’ll most likely not be the next bestselling author (maybe that’s what I’m missing, some ambition…). Nevertheless, thanks to my education, I can provide a qualified opinion. I know how to analyze and dissect a text, evaluate its merits and provide some relevant feedback.
Because you usually start writing about things that are familiar to you – an interesting story that happened to you, characters that are based on people you know in real life (friends or family), places that have particular meaning to you, I feel like I am discovering someone when reading their words. There is an emotional connection between the writer and his or her work, the text is like their child, and this gives me insight both on the process of their writing and also the author as a person.
I intentionally avoid writing about my own life but my emotions, my experiences, my thoughts they somehow seem to find a way to seep into my work. Every word, every phrase, every sentence that I put down on paper is part of me (yes, I actually still write by hand, with a pen and paper). This is true for a lot of (good) writers, you feel like you sacrifice a part of you in the act of creation. It’s a sort of communion between the reader and the writer.
If I’d say now: “I’d like to read you”, would that sound mad?