Wednesday, August 11, 2010

There Are No Stupid Questions

The other day, an elderly gentleman asked me to locate an old book for him. He said he was hard of hearing and I didn't want to continue yelling in his ear, so I told him we didn't have it. He then asked me if I could order it, and I said, "No, we're a used bookstore," to which he replied, "I'm not a bookstore! I live down the street, in a house." He was very polite, though.

This is the first image that came up when I typed in, "He lives down the street, in a house."

Awhile ago I overheard this exchange between two young adults:

"I like to read Stephen King, what about you?"
"Oh, I don't read, I write." 

I think any author worth their weight in words will tell you that a fundamental component of being a good writer is being a good reader. In a lot of ways, being a good, attentive, thoughtful reader is more difficult than writing, but the challenge gives you the perspective you need to be a better writer. It's like when you first learn to drive and highway driving is hella daunting (oh no! the California vernacular has invaded my speech!), but then you do it and realize, gee, highway driving is actually so much easier than city driving. I'm not sure which is reading and which is writing, highway or city driving....This analogy has gotten away from me a little here. I would delete it and start over but I never delete anything I write, I just save it in a different file. I have a lot of files saved on my computer titled "Crap."


  1. ok, yeah... but two things:
    thing one, I went though a phase where I wasn't reading anyone's books because I didn't want my style to be turned, influenced, shaped and or altered during that process.

    thing two, Stephen King....honestly? I would say something snarky to this day if you were like, "hmm literature, you know who I read, Stephen King."

  2. Hey I never said it was high quality literature that Mr. King spews out, but at least the kid was into reading SOMETHING. (I myself think King is a good storyteller who's tricked himself and millions of readers into believing that means he is also a good writer.)

    I understand taking a break from reading so as not to be influenced while you're actively working on a project, but I often find, for myself, that reading something really good while I've got a project going on actually helps to inspire and motivate me to continue working on it. Sometimes someone elses's style is exactly what I need to get me out of my own rut.

  3. Yeah, but I am very easily influenced. You know I can't remember you without thinking about honking the horn and ducking for that whole drive. Fuckin splendid.
    I guess that got me pretty bad horn karma, but live and learn..

  4. Oh hey! I was there when both of these occurrences happened. Yes!