I don’t read very much original fiction anymore. (Don’t take that to mean I don’t read. I spend hours reading every day. It’s probably the single largest chunk of the pie chart that is “How I Spend My Time”.) It’s just that usually now I’m reading essays by people and articles folks have posted, and a good deal of fanfiction as well.
It’s not that I don’t like original fiction. Whenever I make a point of sitting down and reading a *book*, I pretty much always enjoy it.
I’ve been reading a short story for a friend of mine, and I think I’ve realized why I don’t spend my time reading books anymore: No one else has read them.
I’m not trying to say that I’m the only person in the world who reads books. It’s just that there are SO many people in the world reading so many different books. When I read something, and I connect with it, I’m moved by it…that makes a difference to my life, and how I’m interacting with the world.
I want to explain that change. I want to bring up this passage that rocked my world, and discuss it with people.
It’s easy to do that online. That’s what the “comment” button is for. There are communities that toss around ideas and build and borrow from one another.
I’m reading this story, and there’s some line that’s freaking poetry, and I’ve read it nine times and I want to kind of let it sink into my brain so I can keep thinking about it during the week, and so I’ll have it on hand for later, when I can give it out to other people, or when I’m looking for ways to frame the way that I interpret my life.
I want to be able to say these things, because I know what they mean. I know where they come from, I know how they affected me in their original context.
Other people don’t have that context. There is no shorthand for deeper meaning. I can’t just spit out this line and draw them back to the feeling that comes from connecting your own life experience to the words written on the page, all the build-up that it’s taken to get there, all of the investment that comes with time spent.
It’s like having inside jokes with no one.
Or, I can turn back to my thriving online communities, full of other crazy fans, and I can say “ZOMG *THAT LINE*!!!!! ”
And everyone else who’s there says “INO RITE??!!?!?”
So…maybe I should join a book club or something.
They’d have to be an exceedingly…*exuberant*…book club, though.
…Maybe I’ll just stick with fic.