You Gotta Read to Write!

As I mentioned in my previous post, M.J. Rose had stated that in 2006 she would find ways to “Adopt a Reader”. One thought she had was to pass out cards to wanna-be writers with the following quote:
“Readers get published more often than Writers.”

She continues:

And I’ll explain that be it karmic dept or just the smarts that come for reading a lot but when you talk to the most successful writers you discover what rabid readers they were prior to getting published and still are.

Her thoughts inspired me to leave the following comment at her blog, Buzz Balls and Hype. (Now with photos from my personal collection to illustrate my story!)

Excellent idea, M.J.!
Your post reminded me of something that happened a few years ago when I was living in Chicago.

I used to take a notebook with me and scribble a few lines during my train ride to work.

One morning a woman sat next to me…sporting a bright scarf, a hat with some silk flowers pinned to it, and a large button pinned to her coat that said: “Senior Power”. She kept looking over at my notebook (which didn’t have much to offer at that point). Eventually she asked, “what’s that?” I shrugged my shoulders and admitted that I wasn’t quite sure yet, but I hoped it might turn out to be a short-story.

She looked at me and shook her head, “Don’t you know anything, girl? You gotta READ to WRITE.”
The next day I traded my notebook for a copy of “The Bluest Eye”.

I read novel after novel on those train rides. I never saw the woman again, but if I saw her today, I’d thank her for telling me the truest thing I’ve ever heard about writing. My first novel comes out February 14!

(What I didn’t mantion when I was typing my comment at BB&H was that I had carried my camera on the train that day as well. I was so taken with the woman and her willingness to tell me exactly what she thought that I snapped her photo.)

Here’s to Senior Power, to saying what’s on your mind, and to reading before you write!

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