Chill Out

I am a reader first, writer second. This is true for two reasons.

  1. I read more than I write. Even if my writing career takes off, my reading will always outnumber my writing.
  2. Even when I write, I am a reader. My stories are telling themselves through my fingers (a sentiment voiced by many writers) and so, when I’m writing, I’m just as surprised by the words as a first time reader would be. My writer’s brain only becomes active when I’m editing (read: refining) or when I’m reading another writer’s story for the umpteenth time and I’m attempting to figure out what it is about their work that I like (or dislike).

What do I read? Well. A list would take up a whole page while largely being empty space. Can I interest you in a run-on sentence instead?

For my entertainment and my nutrition, I read fantasy, horror, science fiction, literary fiction (sometimes of my own volition), poems (Aracelis Girmay has my heart and my mind in an embrace at the moment), manga, journal entries, graphic novels, articles, essays (yes there is a difference Google is simply another tab away), song lyrics, rooms, faces, natural spaces, unnatural spaces, my own writing (to either stroke or wound my ego. depends on the day), labels, billboards, and palms.

The last one is a lie.

If you bothered to read that paragraph, thank you. Some of the things on the list may seem like they don’t belong there. Our opinions are different if you disagree. That’s fine. I am not going to explain my reasoning. You either get it or you don’t (again that’s fine). I have already delayed getting to the point of this journal entry (oh that should have been on the list! let me go add it. the bold and italics should make sense to you now)

and I am only doing so because I went to make it abundantly clear that I am a reader. I approach many things through the lens of being a reader. I process life as a reader. I run away from it as a reader.

It is not all that I am but, for the purposes of this journal entry, assume that being a reader is all that I am. Make my character and personality as flat and two-dimensional as light projected onto a wall.

As a reader, there is something I would like to tell other readers:

Holy fucking shit some of y’all are arrogant.

Not everything you read has to be a technical masterpiece (whatever the fuck that means) to be considered good or worth the time to read. Not everything you read has to make you question your views or morals to be considered good or worth the time to read. Not everything you read has to make you appreciate yourself or your life or your people to be considered good or worth the time to read. Not everything you read has to be widely beloved to be considered good or worth the time to read. For my pathological contrarians, here is the previous sentence but changed: Not everything you read has to be widely hated to actually be considered good or worth the time to read.

What IS good or worth the time to read?

If reading it, and finishing it, makes you (SPECIFICALLY YOU) feel like you enjoyed it. That’s all.

Now if you tend to like technical masterpieces (or one of the other things in my proselytizing paragraph) and that’s what you find to be your cup of tea… Good! Hell yeah! I’m happy for you. You have found what is good.

For you.

It is not an objective truth. Something you didn’t like isn’t bad. I understand I’m nitpicking here but words have meaning and I’m seeing a lot of people forming an opinion and stating it as fact. Anyone who disagrees is wrong.

No, fucko, they’re not wrong. They’re disagreeing with you on something that is subjective. You can pick something apart and point to the reasons why it’s “bad” and you could be right but if someone read it and they liked it, your reasons stop mattering.

I’m not trying to stop people from having discussions on what makes a piece work or not work. I love those. I enjoy explaining why something resonated with me or why it didn’t. What I don’t enjoy is feeling like I have to defend liking something I read. Or seeing others feel like that.

I started thinking about this, years ago, after taking the time to read things that were simpler than what I normally read. Please understand that I don’t mean simpler as a knock on the work. It is a descriptor and that’s it. I did not have to think as much while reading them or risk hurting my feelings because a paragraph was hard to understand.

The experience was similar to sitting on a cliff’s edge and taking in the view in front of me. No thoughts. Just the wind in my hair and beauty to be blessed with.

It was wonderful.

As predictable as the plots were, as straightforward the imagery and analogies were… I was nourished. All the simple books were good. I’m going to read them again.

I’m not going to list them because I do not want to risk hurting the authors’ feelings. Even if the odds of them reading this are infinitesimal.

They were good! So good! My feelings on it are all that matter!

I guess what I’m saying is just let people like things. They’re not hurting anyone. This extends to things outside of reading.

Thank you for reading. If you felt that was preachy, could have used editing, insubstantial, too informal, obnoxiously quirky, etc. You should not have read a journal entry.

I’ll leave you to read other things after you take in this excerpt from A Prayer For The Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers (it isn’t one of those ‘simple’ books I mentioned)

“Without use of constructs, you will unravel few mysteries.
Without knowledge of mysteries, your constructs will fail.
Find the strength to pursue both, for these are our prayers.
And to that end, welcome comfort, for without it, you cannot stay strong.”