More than a dozen years ago I was dating a man who considered himself a poet and a novelist. One day I went for dinner at his house.
“Did you just move in?” I asked
“Several months ago,” replied Poet.
“Oh,” I said, looking around me. On an uncluttered shelf I noticed a single, slim volume of Tuesday’s with Morrie, propped up against a law textbook. “Then where are all your books?”
“Ha,” he scoffed. “I don’t read.”
“Whaat?” I laughingly responded, disbelieving. “But you’re a writer. Writer’s read!”
“I don’t agree that you need to read to be a great writer.” he dismissed me, haughtily. “I am inspired by life.”
I never got the opportunity to find out if this was true, as I was only given the honour of reading one of his poems. (To be fair, the novel he had written wasn’t in English, so it was my fault for not being able to read it.) I remember him handing me the poem reverently, his eyes on my face to watch my reaction.
“Wow… So good…” I assured him, laughing nervously. I mean, it was ok. My roommate at the time was an awesome award-winning play write and she was always giving me bits her of work to read, so I knew what good looked like. Anyway, whatever, maybe I just didn’t “get” it.
The point is, I’m going to stick with my original bias and say that writers read, especially good ones who want to be better. I knew what good looked like because I loved to read widely and I had read my friend’s amazing work. She knew what good looked like because she read all the plays, poems, novels, essays she could get her hands on.
This challenge has been amazing because it has put me in the habit not only of writing every day, but of reading the blogs of other teachers. Reading and commenting is time-consuming, and I read a lot more posts than I comment on, but I get so much inspiration from this community that it is always worth it. You all help me know what good looks like again and again and again.
I wish there were more hours in the day to read all of your work.