I have been getting paid to write for almost five years now. If I include blogging, I’d have been writing non-privately for seven years. If I add those angsty poems I’d written throughout my teenage school ages, I would have been writing for eleven years.
Of course, this is nothing compared to the achievements most of the writers and bloggers (of the old school of thought) I know have accomplished, and being paid for what I do doesn’t necessarily mean I’m better than most. I’m just luckier. And cheaper to hire.
What really saddens me is that my love for writing has turned professional, and I no longer know how to write from my heart. I wonder if it’s because I have stopped reading. I have had a very normal education from a rather notorious school in the East. I didn’t do exceptionally well in school and probably graduated amongst the bottom half of my batch. Fortunately, I still had my love of reading. I read and reread the children’s illustrated bible, Mother Goose, some of the Classics, and Anne of Green Gables. I also remember fondly falling asleep with earphones on as I listened to Hans Christian Anderson and Brothers Grimm being read to me by a fascinating voice. I had always imagined him to look like Sir Ian McKellan, even though I would only know of him much later.
Lying on the upper bunk of the double decker bed in the room I shared with my brother and an aunt, I’d imagine a pea under my mattress, or try to determine what the smell of an Englishman’s blood would be like. I’d cry every time I hear of the silent princess weaving shirts of nettle to rescue her eleven swan brothers. Now I know why I’m such an emotional person.
I miss reading so much, but with the Internet, and Twitter, I’ve lost my patience with books. I can never read more than ten pages at a go, and the plot loses its hold on me. So with an itchy backside, I asked my Twitter friends to each recommend a book for me to read, knowing very well I have a leaning tower of fire hazards next to my bed. Looking at the list I have compiled on the right, either I have made the wrong Twitter friends or I am far, far less well-read than I thought I was.
Admittedly, I was feeling more discouraged than anything; I haven’t even heard of some of those books! So I let the list sit for a while as it mocks me every time I log into WordPress. But I spotted two titles on a shelf of Penguin classics while I was browsing at Borders over the weekend. All the familiar authors were sitting prettily side by side and good ole Hans and Edgar were calling out to me with drinks in their hands (as writers are wont to do). Yes, it was time to get re-acquainted.
I am happy to announce that I’m reading again.