Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Doing Something For Yourself

You know, reading in college is sometimes a chore. I love to read, but there are just times where the thought of reading makes you want to bash your head against the wall until the voices go away. It's often mind numbing to sit through pages and pages and pages of uninteresting drivel, usually written by some dude with a Ph.D and no memory of what it was like to be in college with a life and other classes. And, with all due respect, you have to wonder where they dig up some of those essays and stories for anthologies. I mean, I understand that they're broadening our horizons, but can't they do that with something interesting, like Mark Twain or Mary Shelley or C.S. Lewis?

Since almost every night you're subjected to dissecting some stuffy expert's overly complicated explanations about such-n-such course, or you're sifting through the horribly flowery language of the early 15, 16, and 1700's. Let's face it, the people of that time period were experts at saying nothing. There were pages and pages and pages of pointless rambling in one of the stories I read earlier in the year -- usually information that had nothing to do with the actual point at all. I think at one point they were describing cobblestones in the road.

Well today, I had my homework done early and I decided to crack open one of the books that I had been reading but put on hold for college. It felt so nice. I was immediately sucked in, and before I knew it, two hours had passed and I was gonna be late for class. I felt like a new person. The sky seemed bluer, and the grass seemed greener. Every now and then, you just gotta read for yourself.

The same thing can be said for your writing. Holly Lisle helped me remember this with a recent update I read. When you're writing something, whether you enjoy it or not, it sometimes becomes more of a job than for pleasure. Even if you really enjoy what you're doing, it sometimes becomes too much of the same and you have to shake things up. It's alright to give in to that little story and peek into windows of places that you might visit soon. It's always nice to get a little taste of somewhere else to break up the monotony.

Sometimes you just gotta do something for yourself.


PJ Hoover said...

Really well put! I've recently rediscovered my love of reading.

Jaye Patrick said...

There's one thing to be said for all those old works you're reading: you can now see how the writing industry has changed. Not so much flowery descriptions anymore, but dynamic action and dialogue.

And in a hundred years' time, what will students say about today's writing?

Jason said...

PJ: I'm already making a Christmas list of books that I'll be subtley hinting at through the next few months.

Jaye: That is definitely true. On the one hand it could be decided we valued story over voice, they may decide we became less intelligent, it seems. Another interesting question is, which of all the millions of books that come out every year will be remembered as the greats?