Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday forays in Fiction: Reading

Tonight I'm contemplating the impact that reading fiction has had on me as a writer of fiction along with the converse; the influence having become a fiction writer has, in turn, had on my experiences as a reader of fiction.

I've nothing profound to say about it, as I am at the moment profoundly mesmerized by the question itself as it seems to have opened up a hall of mirrors in my mind as memories of moments covering over 46 years, involving one or the other activity, light up like museum dioramas. The mes in each glance up, speaking volumes to one another with the mere meeting of the eyes.

It is the experience of reading Joshua Henkin's Matrimony this week that got me thinking along this line. It began with me becoming aware that my experience of the story was being affected by the fact that I was already writing drafts of my review before I had turned the first page. I briefly wondered how much that might be spoiling the story for me and that moment of self-conscious reflection registered awareness of an analogous question. How much had learning and practicing the craft of writing fiction spoiled the experience of reading it for me? And then immediately I wondered why that very question was assuming there was only negative impact. For wasn't it true nearly to the point of cliche that writers of fiction are first readers of fiction? Don't nearly all celebrated fiction writers advise the aspiring fiction writer to read, read, read? And that, of course, led to the question of how reading fiction influenced the writer's writing of fiction. The questions opened a fedback loop which lit up the maze of memories in which my imagination is ricocheting


OK now that I've spilled that out of my mind onto the screen maybe it will leave me alone so I can get back to the story.

Be sure and check back for the Matrimony giveaway post on Monday.

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