The more I read, the more I discover how limited my vocabulary is for an aspiring writer. Not only that, my ability to describe things so that pink is not only pink, but luncheon-meat pink, needs improvement—the observe-everything-like-Sherlock-Holmes kind of improvement. Then there’s the obvious: figuring out my voice or tone. Am I leaning toward being satirical like Vonnegut (whom I have yet to read) or toward being funny and self-deprecating like my favorite author David Sedaris? I can be either or both, I just don’t know yet which self is brave enough for acceptance or rejection. Maybe I have a third self, undiscovered and more hopeful. If only a sorting hat can tell.
I need to read more to solve the problems of reading enough. Luckily, my thirtysomething brain is not complaining. I love to read. I am born to read. My myopic eyes are constantly assaulted by 12-point characters and are begging for frequent rests. And so I write this to distribute the burden of my difficult but not impossible dream to another body part that needs equal flexing: my right hand.
If I could write with my left hand, I would probably force it into labor too, except that it might exact revenge by producing words that only it can read. It is not born a left hand if it can’t be subversive. Until I learn how to master it, my left hand will remain pen-free for the time being. Besides, it is not completely useless. It is still responsible in holding the left pages of a book and turning the page as I dig deep into the story. Good or bad writing regardless, it enables me to read on.
Then there’s my backside. It needs a variety of cushions and backrests to give it the illusion of comfort during long hours of sitting, staring into the blank page, writing, staring into space or window, shifting stare into the blank page, and writing. If I’m aiming to write 2,000 words a day, it will be sitting like Rodin for two to three hours. If I brave writing 50,000 words (a novel) to get a badge (NaNoWriMo), it will be sitting for one month until it grows into the backside of the 30-foot seated figure of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial. Forget my backside, my left hand will be sweating, shaking, and bleeding half of the words of the novel after my right hand obliges.
I am staring again into space, particularly into my pocket dictionary. The clock stroke six. Should I stop writing? Because If I stop, then I will have to continue reading under an artificial light. My myopic eyes will love that and so will my eye doctor, if I ever dare to admit the abuses in exchange for an updated contact lens prescription. Speaking of which, are there lenses that prevent the eye from rolling and voluntarily closing when the paragraphs become longer, or when the story or the way it is written loses its appeal? Because if there are, then maybe, just maybe, it will stop me from abandoning some books just because I decide that I’ve read enough. But then again, who am I kidding? I don’t imagine I’ll be able to write well if I don’t read, read, and read. And it’s not just because Stephen King said it. I know that the only reason why I’m able to write is because I read. Not just fiction, but essays and news and features and children’s stories and poems, especially poems.
It is almost 9pm. Should I stop writing? Probably not, but I should get back to reading. Then tomorrow I can write more.