Writers Must Be Readers


Darcy Pattison Reading

What comes out depends on what goes in. Garbage in, garbage out. Literature in, literature out.

But what if there’s nothing going in? I’ve been reading less lately and it shows in less coming out. Well, that’s not strictly true. I’ve been reading, but mostly internet articles, websites, blogs–not books. This week, though,I’ve read two novels and have a stack of a couple more to read. It’s a breath of fresh air, a coming home that I didn’t know I needed to do.

Why did I leave? I’ve been swept up in the online world for a bit this year. It’s a vast, uncharted world of opinion, with bright spots of voice and humor. Reading around has been interesting, but even here, my habits were shallow, skimming and not staying for a long time on any site.

But this week, I read two novels and was swept away in Story, falling in love again with the language, characters, events,with the way you get lost in the flow of a story. Hours pass, as you travel, meet new people, feel strange emotions, live in the moment of Story. I read Eva Ibbotson’s fantasy middle grade novel, The Secrets of Platform 13. Then I jumped to an adult mystery with Look Again, by Lisa Scottoline. In line next is an adult fantasy novel, and waiting in the corner is a fantastic new bookstore I’ve just discovered. Meanwhile, I’ve stood in B&N and read through board book after board book, in search of the special ones to give to my new grandson for Christmas. From short to long, baby audience to adult, I am devouring Story.

I am gearing up to write and write and write a new story in January. And this is the right preparation: read and read and read. Literature in, literature out.

What books are you currently reading? What are you giving for Christmas presents?

  • SueBE
    December 13, 2011

    At the moment, I’m finishing up an issue of Real Simple. Then I’ll move on to my next book — either The Pericles Commission by Gary Corby, the anthology Corsets and Clockwork, or Jane and the Canterbury Tale by Stephanie Barron. I’m giving my father Area 51 for Christmas and my husband Kitty’s Greatest Hits by Carrie Vaughn (a fantasy anthology). Oh, and one of the Anne of Green Gables books to my niece. And another niece is getting Atonement and Bridget Jones’ Diary and a cookbook for my sister-in-law. And Jared is getting a book on heiroglyphics. I didn’t think I was giving many books until I typed it all out!

  • Darcy Pattison
    December 14, 2011

    Love Real Simple mag.
    Oh, I’m giving LOTS of books for Christmas. That fantasy anthology looks interesting, I’ll have to find it.