Okay, so it’s Thursday (duh), which means it’s a day closer to Friday (YAY!). Boy, has it been a long week. I hope I’m not the only one feeling that tomorrow couldn’t come sooner!
Today I wanted to talk to you about reading and writing, I just wanted to share my experience of it myself. (If you want to hear it that is)
This piece is something I did for creative writing but I feel like I want to share it with you guys out there!
To me, reading is not just a hobby or something that I feel obliged to do. It’s my lifestyle. Every night before I settle down down for sleep my current book makes its reappearance. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been passionate about reading, even as I was growing up (which was a bonus, considering my parents implemented an awesome rule which meant I read for 30 minutes before lights out). But it was never just 30 minutes, and the lights never really turned out. I would find anything that resembled a method of light, hide under my covers and continue my adventures, thinking of myself as a young bookworm. I would then awake in the morning, realising I would have to re-read the chapter I last remembered reading, due to a case of catching z’s on my book.
I started off my reading addiction at a young age by reading the works of Enid Blyton, Jacqueline Wilson, Darren Shan and a range of poetry books. Well, I hate to admit it, reading the first book in the Demonata series by Darren Shan gave me warped nightmares for quite a lengthy period of time. Needless to say I didn’t carry on with the series until I was some years older, where my taste for horror fiction developed.
The main factor that got me hooked on books was the way that the words transported me to to my own unique universe which was crafted by the book itself; the prologue lays the foundations while the ongoing chapters and characters brings the world to life. A collection of prismatic colours infiltrate my mind as the words begin to take a multidimensional form. When I’m reading, my mind is the subject – the book holds the control.
This is a common occurrence, it happens to me with all of my books. I’m continuously building the ultimate fictional reality where the worries that life holds just vanishes just as I immerse myself into the book. I become the characters, I become part of their world, their thoughts intertwined with mine.
Some would say that when it comes to taking care of a book, folding the papers edge of the book is a crime in itself, one my sister would happily find a fitting punishment for. Charlotte is a dedicated reader who is obsessed with protecting the exterior of books. So much so that she will go to extreme lengths to preserve them. Not bending the spine is one of them, it’s her absolute pet hate – which is excruciatingly annoying when it comes to borrowing her books. However I see it as an intimate experience, I’m leaving my personal touch on the book. It’s my own reader’s footprint. A folded corner here and there. The splintered spine after it’s been bent back a few times. It’s a sign that it has a purpose other than just sitting on a shelf, collecting a thick layer dust that an antique collector would be proud of. Once the mark has been made, the crease placed – it can’t be undone. It’s a scar, permanent and meaningful, carrying a story within its grooves.
My reading experience doesn’t just finish when the book closes. It continues around me. Walking the streets, I glimpse reflections of characters bought alive by the flickers in the eyes of strangers that pass. Fiction is awakened and bought into the real world, without the need of a paper instrument. No guidelines. No fictional limitations. It turns into a subjective reality, one that’s individual and unique. Instead of a street consumed by blank, void stares like many others would see, I see a thousand stories linking together in a way I can’t possibly decipher how, fuelling my mind with unlimited writing inspiration.
My preferable experience is reading, but I also indulge in creating my own pieces of written art. I’m enthralled by the way an alphabet that consists of 26 letters can devise works such as Great Expectations and King Lear. Even the feel of creating a piece by hand is a blissful experience, holding the pen, knowing I’m in control.
It’s the way the pen effortlessly glides across the paper, mastering the power that I bestow upon the pen, knowing that it has the power to transform a piece of paper into a masterpiece or a piece that will end up in a ball at the bottom of the recycling bin. As soon as I release the cap of the lid, a thousand ideas are unleashed into the realm of unwritten melodies, tirelessly waiting to be put to paper.
Finding the right pen is a challenge; I need to have a personal relationship with my weapon of creativity. The scratchy types are the worst as the grainy nib scrapes across the page, creating an intense ‘skreek’ as the friction builds up underneath. Absolutely abhorrent. This is the classic 33p Biro, the pens that teachers love dishing out to their students who have forgotten their pens, hiding a smirk as they grin at the battle their students will have to contend with for around an hour or so. Personally, a classic Papermate Inkjoy works its wonders for me. The ink cleanly glides across the page, leaving no trace of a gravelly path, but instead leaves a sophisticated trail of evenly distributed ink.
When starting to write a new piece, I have one law that I must abide by, otherwise nothing will make sense and the sound of failure will start to resonate throughout my work. Think, plan, write. Planning is the most important. I am able to channel my ideas and thoughts onto one page. Usually it ends up being a tangled mess, from which I sift out the relevant points, and the garbage that sometimes happens to spill out of some dead part of my brain. (Which I’m sure happens to all of us).
Although, after planning my focus can wander elsewhere – which means my procrastination level quadruples. An irritating rhythmic foot tap bursts into clamour, which leads to my thoughts wandering to my never ending Christmas list and then to thinking of unusual food combinations – usually trying to make new dishes like jelly and chips, or ice cream and burgers. Which is okay… if I’m writing a piece on a new food item. I probably shouldn’t lose my concentration as easily as I do, it can’t be healthy.
Denying to submit myself to actually write the piece never does me any favours anyway. The looming fears of the deadline intensify as it frantically draws nearer. Anxiety builds up as the pressure to create a compelling work of art increases. Meanwhile, a faint voice is calling to me to watch The Little Mermaid for the 44th time this week.
When my pen does eventually make it to the paper, a world of relentless fury opens up. The speed at which my pen scribbles across the page makes me question why the paper is still alive, why there isn’t booming plumes of smoke billowing from the words that I fire at the sheet. The deeper I get with my piece, the quicker my pace continues to escalate and my handwriting turns to an almost unreadable state.
When it comes to the finished product, I can never quite use the term ‘finished’. This would infer that I am pleased with my work, that I am content with my pages that are littered with the same 26 letters repeated in a skillful way, to make something sound ultimately artsy. This is not the case, for I never fully accept the value of my own work. How do you class a written piece as finished? Are there guidelines? A rule book? A specific number of drafts that must be completed before it is an acceptable piece of work? If that were the case, my work would be framed next to the Mona Lisa already. With the unending amount of drafts that I miraculously produce, I’m surprised that they haven’t sent me the bill for a hundred new trees to be planted in my honour. The original drafts usually end up finding their way to the recycling bin along with fifty others, knowing that they will never be good enough. They are just left to stew amongst other members of the recycling crew, knowing they will never be accepted and their words will never be heard. Silently screaming into the realm of unwritten melodies, silently knowing that they will be lost forever.