Fear in Writing: Thank you for broadening my mind

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thank you for broadening my mind

Is it the lack of intellectual stimulation, the result of being a stay-at-home mom with two preschool-age children? Is it a maturity that comes with the 30s, otherwise known as "the fourth decade" to those who want to torture themselves?  Is it a change of interest as the world seems to set itself on fire?  A need to know as much as possible in the belief that other aspects of life will be explained?  Is it a way to enrich my writing, or perhaps escape from the burden of putting words on paper?

Whatever it is, turning 30 (and now 31) has produced in me a propensity for learning.  Let me preface this by pointing out that I didn't used to read nonfiction.  I had my fill in college and working in news every day.  My at-home reading was always mystery/thriller fiction--usually with an edge toward the airport novel.  You know the kind--you pick it up and it's a short, thrilling ride with questionable writing skill but full of action.

Now, nonfiction fills my shelves, with the classics keeping up in the race and both trailing just slightly behind literary fiction.

Sure, age has something to do with it.  But even more to blame is you.

That's right, my blogging friends, you have opened my eyes to the world.  Where I once read only male authors and only quick thrillers, I now read Tana French, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, and international fiction that blows my mind.  Where I once thrived on the unreal, I now thrill at the idea a story could actually be real.  (Often the real is more perverse than its counterpart.)
So, thank you.  I have read books set on every continent and by authors from nearly as many places.  I have learned so much from my nonfiction turn and it is all piling up in my head and my notes, hoping to spill into my own writing.


  1. You don't have to stop reading us male authors you know...
    I think everyone hits that. It's a pattern - college and learning, working and applying, and then we hit coasting. After a while, we grow tired of the coasting and want to learn and grow again.

  2. Isn't is wonderful to re-discover the world and it's people through books.

  3. I think as we get older, we begin to realize how much we don't know. We reach a point where every answer leads to more questions. Reading opens our minds to so many worlds -- even if we can't learn all there is to know and get answers to all our questions, at least we learn which questions to ask.

  4. Alex- Stop reading Alex J. Cavanaugh! Never! And you're right...just like my kids, we adults go through stages.

    Mary- Discovery is something I don't attribute to myself very often, but it's a wonderful thing.

    Debbie- And we realize it's ok to admit our faults, embrace them and conquer them. Great points, Debbie!

  5. Michele - Oh, I feel exactly the same way! I have benefited so much in so many ways from you and my other blogging friends. One of those ways is that my reading horizons have been expanded. I love that about having connections with all of you.

  6. So true! I've always read widely, but the net is cast even further from shore with the books my blog buddies write and discuss!

  7. Isn't amazing how what you read influences your writing? Sometimes I read things and think, man, I wish I'd written that. And it pushes me to do better.

  8. I am reading a wonderful book right now and it is so making me go all stream of consciousness which isn't bad - it is The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Alas it is fiction but you haven't entirely given that up have you?
    Jan Morrison