Here I go again, spinning out one of my theories about reading.

I'm either brave or clueless since these posts, written in the stillness of my writer's cave, could be seen by much smarter people hundreds of years from now, when humanity has figured out this mind-thingie, and I could be laughed to shame.

Good thing I'll be dead then...

Reading Life, eh?

In my recent post, Rewriting While You Read ~ We All Do It …, I spun out my ideas about how the reader changes the meanings the writer thought they were giving--not always in a huge way and not even in a bad way--leading to phenomena like all those widely divergent sets of feedback you've gotten if you've ever asked folks to review your writing.

I feel we all read life the same way we read books--blending our unconscious assumptions, personal histories, and fleeting feelings with the words on the page, and the "words" that life spells out for us.

My basic proof for this reading-life-like-a-book comes from the fact that we can read a book and become immersed in its "world", seeing its contours and colors, smelling its scents, sharing its relationships...

I suppose you could say I'm proposing a radical definition of "reading" as the human mind interpreting whatever is presented to it. Let me attempt a little formula:

World > Writer > Book > Reader > World

So, what about this post's title's claim that reading leads to writing? Just turn that formula around:

World > Reader > Book > Writer > World

The "Reader > Book > Writer" segment shows that all the reading we do causes books to be born within us (even if we aren't consciously aware they're there) and then, if we choose, we can be the writer of those internal books.

If you've read this far, you must be somewhat sympathetic to my reasoning since there have been plenty of blog post pot holes on this short journey that have probably made many readers abandon the trip :-)

My favorite author, C. J. Cherryh, has a powerful bit of writerly advice on her recommended reading page when she talks about Fritz Leiber, who she said taught her to write:

"When I was trying to improve my writing I took one of his longest stories and simply marked and mapped how he set up his information. I applied what I learned and sold the very next thing I sent out."

Cherryh has written over 40 books and won multiple awards:


John W. Campbell Best New Author winner (1977)

Hugo Best Short story winner (1979) : Cassandra

Nebula Best Short story nominee (1979) : Cassandra

Hugo Best Novel nominee (1979) : The Kesrith

Nebula Best Novel nominee (1979) : The Kesrith

World Fantasy Best Novella nominee (1982) : Ealdwood

Hugo Best Novel winner (1982) : Downbelow Station

Hugo Best Novel nominee (1983) : The Pride of Chanur

Philip K Dick Award Best Novel nominee (1984) : Voyager in Night

Hugo Best Novel nominee (1986) : Cuckoo's Egg

Hugo Best Novella nominee (1987) : The Scapegoat

Hugo Best Novel winner (1989) : The Betrayal

World Fantasy Novella nominee (1992) : Gwydion and the Dragon

British Fantasy Society Best Novel nominee (1995 : Invader

British Fantasy Society Best Novel nominee (1995) : Rider at the Gate

British Fantasy Society Best Novel nominee (1995) : Fortress in the Eye of Time

Prometheus Award Best Novel nominee (1998) : Finity's End

So, anyone who's actually read this far in the post, what do you think?? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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