03 June 2008

tuesday, i think.

i wouldn't consider myself a reader, per se. i mean, i would like to consider myself one, but i can't if being honest.

i'm a writer. jeremy's a reader. he does write some too and i have been known to read things, but in general, i'm better at grammar and his is the name scrawled inside most of our books.

i've heard it said that in order to be a good writer, one must read. i don't disagree with that assertion and feel certain that were i to read more than i do, my writing would flourish with a bigger arsenal of words and more interesting characters.

the problem is, i am one of those people who has to re-read a sentence five times in order for it to sink in. i am not dyslexic and always did well in English...in fact, I'm a good reader when reading aloud. it's more the issue of the information gluing itself to my brain that hinders me.

jeremy, on the other hand, cannot keep from buying books and soaking each page up like bread into butter. he also speed-reads and has a habit, in the spirit of Harry, of reading the last page of a book while still on chapter one. i do not understand.

for me, i think it's two things actually. first, i am intimidated by books because i know it's going to take me forever to read them so i hesitate to even begin. for example, my sister bought me a book for Christmas last year. it was all wrapped up with a five-pack of Burt's Bees lip balm tins and it scared me to death. it might as well have been a dictionary, this book as thick and horrifically daunting as a five-pound steak. she said it was great; i have yet to crack the binding.

the other is that my imagination wanders. that's what keeps me from absorbing anything until the third or fourth reading of a sentence. sure, once i get going and am immersed in a story, i can fly along. but it's the getting going that's a challenge. i'll start to read and before i've even finished a paragraph, i find myself thinking about which pillows would look best on our bed, or how much i love the marvellous shade on my little reading lamp, or how proud i am to be holding an actual book in my hands even if just for ceremony.

last night i decided to try something new. a short book. something light and compact and uncruel. i chose Franny and Zooey from the shelf in j's office. i've heard it's good, i like the title, and it's tiny. incidentally, i was reminded of it upon introduction to the music duo She & Him, featuring Zooey Deschanel (named after Salinger's Zooey) who starred in Almost Famous and Elf. and incidentally inside of an incidentally, that movie (the one featuring Will Farrell in tights) was the first occasion for me to see my husband (then-boyfriend) cry. In a movie about Santa Claus. How could I not marry him?

so while it took me three attempts and several minutes to push past the first two sentences of Franny and Zooey, once i did, i kept going. i'm a third of the way through(!) and really enjoying it. and who knows? maybe it will even seep into my writing somehow.


clairestrebeck said...

Oh, that is SSOOOO me! Wesley is always after me to read, and I enjoy reading, really, it just takes me a little effort to get into the book. I had such a problem in grade school making myself read the required reading list because I didn't think some of them were interesting. I remember "reading" Hamlet, and noticing that I had gone an entire Chapter without taking Any of it in. Its strange now that I think about it how I can "read" a page and apparently even flip the page without even internalizing anything that I'm looking at.

jenni said...

Though I read a lot, I'm actually a slow reader. This used to bother me until I read about some authors who read slow, too - they like to absorb everything. They said it makes them better writers. So, you and I can just read at our own pace, 'k? And I have that exact same copy of Franny and Zooey! It's my next fiction read. Did you see what I added to my blog entry? What Lori Chaffer said? She said all artists need to read it.

P.S. - I'm becoming a little obsessed with She & Him's CD.

P.S.S. - Beautiful photo.

Anonymous said...

And I thought it was the beginning of Alzheimers....that is the way I have been reading for the last 10 years...including the meandering into home decoration, whether Eli will remember me after 6 months and if I remembered to unplug the iron. Now i realize that you have inherited my "genius gene"...we are so lucky...not everyone can stay focused and float at the same time!


Thesupermanns said...

i love your blog....you're a great writer and so creative...we would love to hang and have our boyz hang soon.

clairestrebeck said...

hey, kierstin, wesley and i are looking into the Nashville area, and have some questions about different things (like safe neighborhoods, areas, etc.) :) what area did yall just move to?