I am in awe of great writers. Anybody who is creative and talented enough to author a story that gets my heart pounding and demands my attention to the last page has my deepest admiration. I LOVE books. When I find a truly great book it is a treasure. I was only 18 when I read Lonesome Dove but I can still remember clearly, racing through all 960 pages only pausing when absolutely necessary and even then keeping it next to me with my finger marking my place. The first time I read Jane Eyre I was blown away! More recently I read The Book Thief. The story was very good, but the writing was amazing! I would read a line and stop to exclaim to Matt, "Listen to how he worded this sentence!" Sometimes it's a character who grabs hold of me. Mrs. Baker, in Wednesday Wars, is someone I would love to be friends with, and who wouldn't want to attend a meeting of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? And then sometimes it's not the best writing but just a true story that had to be told and opens my eyes to things far removed from my safe little world. Books like Lone Survivor and To Destroy You is No Loss affected me deeply. Our grade school librarians tried to instill in us that "we can travel the world just by opening a book". I agree! I would love to see The British Isles, but if I never get there I've read some very beautiful and magical stories that paint a picture in my mind that may be better than the real thing!
About a year ago I was approached by a friend who wondered if I would be interested in joining his writing group. He knew that I liked to read and they were looking for people willing to critique for them. Surprisingly enough, it sounded really fun to me. I couldn't figure out why. It's basically like homework. I give my time and energy freely, with nothing in return. When I explain this to people I get a little embarrassed because even to myself it sounds weird. But I love it! The only explanation I can come up with is that I guess I've finally found my true talent in life: telling other people what they are doing wrong and how I think they could do it better! (Matt's known for a long time that I'm very good at this.)
So now I'm in a writing group. But I don't write. The writers in my group encourage me to give it a try but I have a lengthy list of excuses ready for them. "Who has time?" "I don't have any ideas." "Maybe when my kids are older." "I'm not talented enough to actually publish anything, so why waste my time?" They don't accept any of them. And why should they? They're actually doing the work and laying themselves out there each week for me to slice and dice and skewer any way I see fit. I try to let them know, often, how very impressed I am with them. They are all very talented and I get so excited for them when they produce something extraordinary! As for myself, I'm content for now to write this blog and enjoy the delicious fruits of others' labors.
(SHAMELESS PLUG: One of the writers in my group just published his first e-book on Amazon. If you have an e-reader go buy it for .99!Amazon.com: Jabberwocky eBook: Daniel Coleman: Kindle Store He's really good!)