A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard
When I began to write full-time, I became lazy about my reading. Where I once read up to three books a week, I went down to almost zero. I told myself that I could not afford the distraction while I “created.” Blah!
I promised myself I’d catch up between books. Bunk!
I did read for my monthly book club and a few books sent to me by friends. And in defense of my lazy-self, I did get Kindle for PC and began to sneak over there between chapters.
In September of 2011, I tried Nina Badzin’s book a week challenge and as is my personality, I read three books one week and then nothing for two. I am the most structured, undisciplined person I have ever met.
No matter what the rationalization, I cannot write worth a dime unless I’m reading as much as I can, of as many genres and styles as I can. To develop structure and mature as a writer we must read all the time, not just between books. The way I work there is no between books.
If I waited to find the time to swim, I would never move a muscle. If I waited to find the time to read, I would never read more than the penny-saver as I hang over my first cup of coffee.
Time is what we make of it.
Movies & Music …
Yes, I have been known to go to more than one movie house in one day, or bath happily in hours of commercial free movie marathons.
The opening of the eighties was the era of cable television … when MTV and arcade games were the bomb. My children, however, were the only kids in their class who watched thirteen channels on a 13″ black and white I bought for a few bucks at Habib’s Electronics on 181st in Washington Heights.
They went to friends houses and came back complaining that we were the only humans on the planet that didn’t have wide-screen color television, cable and 35 channels. I told them to go read a book, listen to music or take in a movie.
One afternoon a friend informed me that there was a movie channel on cable. I sat in her living room and watched a commercial free movie on HBO. The next week my children came home to a wide color TV on top of which sat a cable box and I was hooked!
There is a direct connection from the “word” to the live action on-screen. There is no movie or television without the word. Of course, there is no explaining action-packed, block-busters or reality television. Still, there is enough intelligent programming and movie plots to keep the reader in me happy.
Movies and television are the main reasons I can’t change the panster in me. A movie plays out in my head and the characters become real to me.
Ironically, they are also the reason I am obsessed with plotting. Plot points in movies are perfectly balanced and are a great way to learn to balance a novel. Kind of like the best of both worlds.
Music is hand in glove to story line, mood setting, and mind-blowing great music can make me insane with passion, from Aida to Marvin Gaye, from the blues to jazz and all roads leading to nirvana.
When I am writing, I am not aware of my fingers or the computer screen. I am seeing and hearing it all play out in real-time and I have to get it all out there before the screen fades to black.
How to you see the relationship of books, movies and music to your writing?
fOIS In The City