“If we want to write, it makes sense to read—and to read like a writer. If we wanted to grow roses, we would want to visit rose gardens and try to see them the way that a rose gardener would.”
So writes Francine Prose in the altogether wonderful Reading Like a Writer, well worth a close reading. She recommends this for all writers with a book they admire: slow down and if you pay attention, you might be able to see behind the curtain and teach yourself just how the magic is made. In the days before writing conferences and innumerable workshops, this is how it was done: by reading.
I’ve inaugurated a new section to write about books that have helped me on my writer’s journey by their example, their instruction, or their inspiration. Some might be “how-to” books, some might be about creativity in general, and some might be books I simply love so much I want to share them.
Rebecca Solnit writes in “How to Be a Writer: 10 Tips: “Read. And don’t read. Read good writing, and don’t live in the present. Live in the deep past, with the language of the Koran or the Mabinogion or Mother Goose or Dickens or Dickinson or Baldwin or whatever speaks to you deeply. Literature is not high school and it’s not actually necessary to know what everyone around you is wearing, in terms of style, and being influenced by people who are being published in this very moment is going to make you look just like them, which is probably not a good long-term goal for being yourself or making a meaningful contribution.”
Please enjoy my first offering, The Speed of Light, and join me here for more offerings in the future.