This one is a rather funny story. Well, maybe not that funny, but it’s still something a bit unusual, I’d think.
I was a writer before I ever became a reader.
You read that right. I was writing stories, novels, before I got to read books on the level that is required to even become somewhat good at writing.
The thing was that I thought writing to be easy. Truth be told, most artistic endeavors appear to be easy to those who aren’t good, and they are terrifying to those who are good.
It’s just one of the paradoxes of life, I guess.
Anyway, back to the main story. I was writing mostly science fiction, fantasy, the kind of things 13-14 year old boys like to fantasize about. And, one day, I read Dune. Used to play Dune II on my computer back when I was a kid, so I was a bit curious to know the whole story. And I was captivated. Such a wonderful novel. It’s one of two novels I re-read each year. I even got a quote from it tattooed.
Then I read some more. Maybe a book a month, something like that. Nothing too fancy.
But then I read The Great Gatsby. My, my, what a novel. Irreversibly fell in love with the story, the characters, Fitzgerald’s beautiful writing. This one is the second book I re-read once a year.
I think reading can become addictive once you realize that it’s one of the best ways to make use of one’s solitude. It’s the silence, the peace around you, and all these wonderful and strange and fantastic things going on inside your head, the by-product of reading words on paper. That’s magic.
Over the following six, seven year I read about a thousand books. Never kept a count. The most I read in a year? A hundred thirty three books.
It just opened a new world to me. I realized how important words were, how they could change someone’s feelings, how they could put a dent in the universe.
Words are magic. I keep writing this, I keep saying this, and it is something I strenuously believe.