Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: comments

Continuing the Conversation ~ Reading like a Writer . . .


Reading like a writer And so, we continue from last Wednesday’s post, A Conversation about Reading like a Writer . . .

You may want to see what was said in that post, since two well-seasoned writers are quoted…

But, to continue…

Here’s what a reader said in a comment to that post; and, what I responded with:

“I read anything. I always have, so I read a lot of rubbish along with good writing. It is only occasionally I stop following the story to notice the way the author uses language. That is when I learn how to improve my own writing. I review almost every book I read but I forget them almost immediately after I have read them, with the exception of works by Stephen King. Maybe I should read a book more than once?”

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“Well…the books I’ve read more than once are, to me, quite like the ones I’ve read once—I remember certain scenes and the overall “feel” of the book; but, certainly not the whole thing—that would probably take me 10 readings :-)”

So…

That reader and I are both writers…

We both stop only occasionally to notice specifically what the author’s doing…

Is that a trait of folks who read like a writer?

Do other writers stop and notice more often?

And, is forgetting most of a book something writers have in common with most readers…?

I feel I should share a bit from the post preceding this one—from the book, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.), by Francine Prose:

Concerning writers reading to learn how to write—“…the connection has to do with whatever mysterious promptings make you want to write. It’s like watching someone dance and then secretly, in your own room, trying out a few steps.”

“You will do yourself a disservice if you confine your reading to the rising star whose six-figure, two-book contract might seem to indicate where your own work should be heading.”

“The only time my passion for reading steered me in the wrong direction was when I let it persuade me to go to graduate school….I left graduate school and became a writer.”

So…

The commenter from last Wednesday and Francine Prose say at least one thing similarly:

“…I read a lot of rubbish along with good writing.”

“You will do yourself a disservice if you confine your reading to the rising star whose six-figure, two-book contract might seem to indicate where your own work should be heading.”

Those are similar statements if you can link “rubbish”reading with “rising star six-figure, two-book contract”reading…

Yet our commenter reads a lot of it and Francine merely recommends not confining oneself to it…

Now, I’ll interject a bit more of my own feeling…

Of course, it’s feeling from a man who is officially old and who began writing seriously late in life…

And, it only relates to my current reading-like-a-writer activity…

I’m in the middle of reading at least 20 books (some re-reads, some not…) by my absolutely most-favorite fiction author, C. J. Cherryh

Ms. Cherryh happens to be a Risen Star and morethantwobookcontract author who has never written rubbish…

Plus, I’m only confining myself to her books until I read six books of poetry by various authors…

All that reading because I’m a seasoned old man who loves writing and listens, carefully, to his Muse when he must read like a writer…

Two ideas in closing:

1.) If you share a comment on this post, you’ll help this particular topic continue on Wednesday…
2.) But, you could share a comment about some other topic(s) you’d like to discuss…

Number two should be in the realms of Reading, Writing, or Publishing; or any combination of those realms :-)
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Mind/Reality & Writers


Yesterday I posed a number of questions about mind and reality and got some fascinating comments from a group of writers.

I promised a follow-up post and feel very good that I didn’t have to weave it out of thin air :-)

The thin air my mind is in now is a rarified state of reality I like to call metaphysical funk.

The comments from yesterday began to fill that mental reality with urges and pokes that are helping me turn the funk into a faith that I can make the walking woundedness of pervasive grief over the death of a friend an experience rich with fertile futurity.

If that last sentence made some sense to you, we could probably enjoy a chat in some groovy coffee house :-)

I decided the best I could do, right now, to indicate how helpful all the comments were is to put the urges and pokes here, hoping they prod my readers to check back with yesterday’s post and read all the comments

Shalon said:

“My take on this, Alexander, is that we can’t know what’s real or what’s not real, and that the blind commitment to one form of reality is a type of zombie-hood that sucks your brain out of your mind and eats it….

“I also feel that since reality is unknowable, the smartest thing to do is give it the benefit of the doubt….

“…I’m not saying that there isn’t a real ‘reality’ out there, but that despite the possibility of a ‘true’ and ‘real’ reality, there still exists a choice. I believe that this requirement to choose one reality over another means, to me, that reality is unknowable.”

Karla> said:

“The brain is an elegant and amazing organ, constantly gathering input from our environment and processing it according to ever evolving life lessons. I don’t see why we feel the need to attribute reality to anything more than that.”

Simone said:

“Well, a couple of children’s stories come to mind. One is The Emperor’s New Clothes. The other is about the blind men and the elephant.”

John said:

“The questions on the floor, of course, are so elephantine (speaking of “the blind men and the elephant”) that I doubt I could make much more than a stab in the direction of actually unraveling the questions of “mind” and “reality” enough to even approach an answer or two concerning either….

“Personally, reality appears to be what it is to me; the minute I must related this reality to someone else, voilà! There are difficulties which simply do not exist in the singular; when it comes to the plural of humanity, then, of course, we run into a problem of justice and equity, which is an entirely different kettle of fish, and whole new elephant to examine.”

Cassy said:

“There is an inseparable symbiotic relationship between our senses and the reality that is created within our mind….

“Metacognition helps us to evaluate our minds reality as shaped by our sensual experiences….

“So, in short, I would say that the weave of reality and mind is so tight, it would be difficult to identify which is the chicken and which is the egg (though I am writing this before 8am and have only had one cup of coffee – no telling what my reality will be an hour from now :)”

Your Thoughts/Feelings??
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