Monday, May 16, 2016

Reading and Writing - A Stiff Minuet or a Waltz- Part 1

I've always loved the lilting notes and breathtaking images of the waltz. Reading and writing seemed more like a stiff minuet. I admired both, but they maintained a polite distance.

As a child, letters, words, and sentences were a jumble to me. Once they settled into place, I was off and running as a reader. My early experiences with fiction centered around the adventures of other children from fantasy to real-life situations.

Surprisingly, I didn't enjoy mysteries or the suspense that now rank as favorite genres. This aversion also extended to TV programs. It took a long time before I realized most of the stories had a happily-ever-after ending. After that, I was able to roll with the scarier moments and try to figure out how the hero or heroine would defeat the bad guys.

Christian Fiction books for kids and adults were almost non-existent. My grandmother was a reader and had some non-fiction books on her shelves. Besides touring her extensive garden, going through her books entertained me while the adults discussed their boring stuff.

When my mother started ordering Sunday School materials, catalogs appeared in our mailbox. We examined each one when they arrived with all the excitement of a new Sears offering. There I discovered some Christian Fiction for kids. I was hooked, but the limited selection frustrated this voracious reader.

Before I ever heard the term, "If you can't find what you want to read, write it," I decided to write my own book. While reading was easy, writing rated right up there with math. The manuscript got shoved in a box and eventually tossed in the trash.

During a dark period of my life, I turned to non-fiction for answers. Fiction seemed irrelevant, and I rarely bothered with it. Writing poetry became a way to relieve the pressure of my circumstances. A few people commented on it and urged me to seek publication. Multiple rejections sent my poetry the way of those childish novels, but the seed was planted.

Reading and writing danced a minuet for most of my life. They were related, but I didn't understand the connection. Would they ever come together and waltz?

Writers:  How did reading influence your writing?
Readers:  Did reading ever give you ideas about writing? Please share.

Photo Credit: Scott Snyder


Jeanette Levellie said...

I'm happy for you that you're finally able to waltz with words, Susan!

As a writer, reading varied styles and genres has offered me either poor or excellent examples of how to write engaging prose. I often read phrases that move or delight me, and strive to emulate that kind of creativity in my own writing. I don't believe one can be a successful writer unless they read a lot.

Thanks for asking!

Karen Lange said...

I've loved to read for as long as I can remember, and although I didn't think about becoming a writer as a kid, I'm sure that it had a big influence on my writing now. Fun analogy, Susan! :)

Marja Verschoor-Meijers said...

Waltz with words... I read mostly English books to constantly work on my language :) I enjoy reading/learning/being inspired.

Linda O'Connell said...

I love good writing, snappy phrases that lead to introspection. Reading is really akin to dancing. Either I'm jitterbugging along or waltzing. I love words and when I was eight the dentist told my mom, "Frankly, I think..." I asked how he knew my uncle Frank. When I learned the definition, I overused it for a week. LOL

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Everyone - I'm a little behind answering comments.

Jen - I love both reading and writing, and the two combined make a beautiful waltz. Even if I don't consciously study a book, I'm learning what to do (or what not to do).

Karen - I didn't hit my stride reading until 6th grade. From then on, it was full-speed ahead.

Marja - Your English is impressive.

Linda - Me too. :) I worked with a guy once, who was always picking up new words. You always knew which one it was because he used it constantly. LOL!