The Writer Who Wouldn’t Read
I love writing stories, but for most of my admittedly short life, I didn’t enjoy reading. Until recently. The Tasha-is-almost-too-embarrassed-to-admit-it, kind of recently.
I detested reading sometimes, though not for the reasons one might assume. I’d pick up a book, read a few chapters, and then feel compelled to work on, or merely daydream about, my own stories. Thus began the Tasha-never-finishes-anything-she-reads syndrome, established circa middle school.
How could I have worked in a bookstore during high school, and be unfamiliar with authors and their works? How could I have written my own book when I didn’t like reading? Why am I pursuing a career in writing if I don’t thrive on experiencing stories by reading them?
I’m not sure I have an answer. I suspect, however, I was lost in my own imagination, and reading inspired me to return to my own imaginings rather than someone else’s. Or perhaps it’s not that I disliked what I read, but writing was more exciting to me. A satisfying, rich escape that differed from reading in its own way.
When I turned twenty-one, my mom introduced me to my favorite book: Shogun by James Clavell, and I’ll admit that I did a one-eighty. I don’t know if I was a late bloomer to the world of reading, or if my imagination was finally willing to embrace the work of others, but I’ve been reading—albeit, selectively—for the past two years.
Do I still cringe when I hear: You must read to write? Yes, of course.
Although I enjoy reading a handful of series now, I wonder how my lack of pleasure reading for twenty-one years will influence my career going forward. The twittersphere, bloggers, and you-must-read-to write’ers of the world might say, negatively. But I’d like to think that I have an unconventional perspective on the writer/reader dynamic, and only time will tell if it hinders or helps my pursuit of the written word as well as my ability to share it with others.