We have To Be Read piles (TBR for short) that are taller than small children. Our favorite authors and characters become our friends. If you simply love to read, you might feel this way too. (We writers LOVE great readers.)
I don’t know if we become students of the written word because we love to read or if we read because we were born to love the written word. All that chicken and egg Zen is well beyond me. I just flat out love books and every writer I know does too. It takes a lot of love to go through what we must do to yank our stories from our hearts onto the page.
If you are a writer, there are things that I know about you that I don’t know about the other readers I meet:
- I know you read odd things in odd places. If you are stuck somewhere without a book, you will begin reading any words available – shampoo bottles, food labels, billboard signs. Whatever. Books and magazines are preferred, but in a pinch, any words will smooth your soul.
- You read by flashlight in bed at night when you were a child. When your person-in-charge confiscated it, you waited 5 minutes before pulling the back-up light from its crafty hidey-hole. If they were on to you and confiscated the back-up, you tilted the pages to try to read by the light from the hall.
- When a book touches you, it is a safe bet that you will not only remember the details of that story, characters, etc…you will also remember where you were the first time you read it and what you were doing that day.
- I am certain that if you named 10 best friends from the various periods of your life (and were being honest), at least half of them would be book characters, authors or titles.
- When you go to a writing conference and see piles of free books by your most cherished authors, you get that same zing of attraction that you felt the first time you saw your honey.
- At these same conferences, when you are in the presence of your favorite author(s), your tongue gets tied in knots.
- You have rituals associated with your books. Whether it’s the way you clean them, sort them, store them or lend them, there is something particular you do with your books. And it makes you feel happy and peaceful when you look at your books after you’ve done it. (For me, it’s the way I order them and which shelf or room they’re in. My husband knows: don’t be moving my books without telling me. It makes me cranky.)
- Speaking of lending…writers love to share their book friends with their people friends. BUT…When someone borrows a treasured book from you and doesn’t return it – or worse, passes it on to someone else without asking you first – your friendship with them changes. You’re probably still their friend, but you’ll either “forget” to loan them books in the future or you will buy a copy from the used bookstore as a back-up and loan them that. There is an A-List of book-borrowers in your life and you love to have coffee with these people.
- When a book touches your spirit and transports you to a place you’ve never been, it’s not uncommon for you to read the last page, turn the book over and start at Page 1 to figure out how the author did that.
There are more things that I know about writers and their reading habits but I want to hear from any of you who are writers, or who want to tell on the writer in their life. For all the writers out there…what are your book rituals? Do you non-writers have book rituals too?? Which of the nine points above made you laugh? Enquiring minds always want to know here at More Cowbell!
Tomorrow, for “Lovin’ Friday,” I’m going to talk about some authors and books I love (and why). I hope you’ll come back and share yours with me. See you then!