Reader ≥ Writer

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I am conflicted.

I can’t decide if I am more of a reader than a writer. I mean, I love to write and do it extensively in my journals and in my mind, but I don’t have a plethora of writing credits to my name. However, my reading credits are vast and heavy and give me a headache.

I have read (See what I mean?) numerous articles offering the following basic advice: In order to write, you need to read. But the advice never tells you when to stop reading and when to start writing.

I am stuck reading.

I think this may be a problem – the kind of problem people give you an odd look for because really it is not a problem. You just think too much. Every time I participate in a conversation I without fail mention a book I have read, an article I have scanned, a quotation I have memorized, and all the things I have yet to read. I feel inundated with thoughts, concepts, theories, emotions, that are not organically fostered in my head, but transplanted from Tumblr into my head. As a result, I cannot be personally creative because I am feeding my needs with the creativity of others. This explains, for me at least, why recently Joss Whedon admitted to never having seen an episode of “Lost.” I get it now. You cannot be indulging fully in the creativity of others if you want to create yourself.

Demarcations must be placed. I am just too unaware of how this can be done.

I love absorbing content and, no, this is not because I am part of the internet age. When I was in the single digits, I used to constantly flip through the Encyclopedia Britannica’s A, B, and C volumes because those were the only ones I had. I learned about Antarctica, ballet, and Chile without leaving my bedroom floor. Back then, at least, I had school telling me to attend art class or enjoy recess so I had barriers, marked periods of individual creativity. Now, I am just staring at creativity and wondering how it is done.

I want to read more. I want to write more. But, can I do both? Do I have to choose?

I feel like I may need to choose for my own sanity, and I am leaning towards reading. Sometimes the thrill of witnessing how someone else’s creativity flourishes and how it interacts in the world is more interesting to me than the notions rolling around in my head. But then, just when I think I have committed completely, I get that itch. The itch that can only be relieved by writing something, anything. I get this in bursts. It does not stay long. The itch has other people to visit; but when it stays a while, the feeling is warm, honest, and right. I love scratching that itch. What frustrates me must be that reading is more constant, more controllable than writing. Sure, you can type or pick up a pen any time you want, but that is not the writing I am talking about. The writing I am talking about makes your hands sweat, your mind reel, your soul lighter. I can depend more often on a book giving me these feelings than I can on myself.

Is this is a lack of confidence? No. I think it is an overwhelming sense of hesitation: I would rather hold on to all these ideas that I have and feed off of them until they disintegrate than expose them to the world. In other words: brain crack.

Is reading assisting my brain crack addiction? Probably.

I want reading and writing to be equal – at least in my own life. I may need to create rules for myself- for every book I read I must write a short story based on the emotions the aforementioned book gave me. But this sounds anti-itch to me.

Or maybe I should just give in completely to my love of seeing already formulated sentences, composed of carefully selected words, printed on vast amounts of paper. Because, staring at a blank page reminds me too much of the already done and not of the possible.

Reading reminds me of the possible.

However, I am still conflicted.

Lourdes Keochgerien, YA Consultant & ReaderWhen aren’t I.


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