There’s a reason why I don’t read and write at the same time. It’s a dangerous endeavor and I risk being consumed by one love and stumbling along blindly with another. Sometimes it is not a problem and I think, wow this was easy. No need to go on a reading hiatus. I can manage life and books. I can write without being consumed by fictional characters of other novels. Then I undoubtedly come upon a hidden treasure that shakes me to the core. The characters haunt me like ghosts from a past life. They cloud over my vision so that they are all I can see. The closest thing I can compare it to is punch drunk love. You know, when you meet that someone special and your heart skips a beat? You forget to breathe because you are so captivated by their essence. You are elated and terrified that they find you half as appealing as you find them and would give anything just to be in their presence for a moment longer.
That’s what it’s like for me and a really good book. It’s why I don’t read and write. I want my work to have the same addictive, lustful qualities. I want to be consumed by my own art, so much so that everything else ceases to exist. But for me that has never been the case. I love my writing. I am good at it. But it is not easy. I wish I were one of those prodigies, who woke up with a pen in the mouth and started writing Shakespearean sonnets. Some days, I have to force myself to sit at the computer. I have to plead with the characters to come to life. I have to pray to God for inspiration. And after all of that, when I walk away with a single page of edits, I am left feeling like a failure. How can I call myself a writer?
This is why, when I want to get substantial writing done, when I am trying to meet some mental deadline (because those are the only ones that currently exist) I have set for myself, I ban reading. When you are in a serious relationship, they say, you can look, but don’t touch. Right? Well, the problem with looking is that one day something is bound to catch your attention. Something is bound to respond to your inner core, to stir up things inside of you that have been cataleptic inside of you. I pick up one book, enjoy it and toss it aside. It was fun, mildly entertaining, but nothing more. A fling. A fix. But I keep doing that and wham--out of no where I am completely and utterly infatuated with another world, new characters, new relationships. I almost wish it had never happened. I long to be free again—to be able to write my own work with no pesky distractions. There is nothing left to read anyway. I have devoured all the books in the series, the drafts, the teasers. It’s over. But breaking up is a Bitch. Hard to do. And I feel a little guilty for longing so lustfully after another. Will my lifetime partner take me back? Forgive me for straying, especially when we are so close to the happily ever after? I guess I will have to get back to you on that.
Now you think I am crazy, don’t you.