Writers, READ!


Every writer knows the importance of reading and the impact it has on our own skills. Because I write literary fiction, I gravitate towards the same in my reading choices. However, I’ve discovered that it’s critical to pay attention to what is going on in my life at the moment and plunge into different genres to acheive some sort of balance.

Here’s an example. Last night, I began to read the novel “Still Alice,” by Lisa Genova. Beautifully written and intense, it’s the fictional story of a brilliant woman’s descent into dementia. The reading group I attend here in the desert will discuss it at April’s meeting. However,I don’t know if I have the psychic energy to continue. Although I’ve worked with dementia my entire nursing career and have, myself, written a flash fiction piece from the first person point of view of a woman with dementia, I am immersed in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s–my 89 year old mother.
How different it is on this side of the street! I’m not sure I can bear the sadness.

I know that, down the road, “Still Alice” will remain on my reading agenda–maybe even before that next book club meeting. More than likely, I’ll offer it as my suggestion for my Reno book club. In the meantime, I have to listen to my inner self. Tonight I’ll download something mindless. I enjoy a good mystery now and again. Rarely, a romance. It’s important to read great writing to enhance our own skills, but even when it’s less than stellar–isn’t it fun to critique?

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