Monday, December 11, 2017

Gorged Upon Books and Glad to be Full

The one drawback of reading self-critically is that I've now trained myself to read everyone else with the same forensic stare; as a result, I rarely find the same pleasure in stories, essays, poems, and plays that I once did. The issue is not always competence; there are times when a writer is not bad at all, but not for me. At other times, a writer does apparently fail to revise with full attention, and I stumble over the speed-bump clauses.

When I do find work that resonates with me, that offers passion and skill that I can appreciate, then I feel as if I were nine years old again, gorged upon books and glad to be full. For all of the critical comments I've posted here, I hope that I've also offered a sense of my joy in reading, because the joy is real, and it keeps me alive.

1 comment:

Jean-Yves Duperron said...

Regardless of how many times a writer revises his text, it's the story that pulls you in. I myself now, because of the reviews I've written over the last ten years, listen to music with too much of a critical ear, which prevents me from enjoying the music's narrative as much as I should. Regardless of how badly it's played, a Shostakovich string quartet remains a great piece of music. Regardless of how perfectly it's performed, a Mozart string quartet remains a terrible piece of music. Mind you, there are limits! But when you listen to a new recording, or read a new book for the first time, you have to disregard every rule you know, block out other similar stories you may have read, and focus on the task at hand and allow what's there to move you. Otherwise there would be no point to the whole process. If the novel or composition seem hollow and leave you cold, only then should you reach for your critical tools.