I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in how I feel after I take the time to read. I’m investing time reading and I’m reading for many reasons – to become a better writer by comparing and contrasting author styles to my own, for pleasure, for ideas for lessons for my middle school creative writing students.
I ain’t gettin’ any younger so I figured I’d better find a way to help turn this tide of frustration. It was getting to be so annoying I considered taking every book in my “to read” stack and either returning them to their owners, the library or donating them to charity.
One day while wasting time on social media I discovered an idea I’ve now put to use. I don’t know if it has an official name but basically the idea is to take a 8.5 x 11 paper and after reading a book, record dialogue you liked or vocabulary or whatever. It doesn’t have to be a time suck and I’ve figured out the easiest way for me is to use sticky flags or somehow “marking” what I read. I’m choosy, you know, like those mothers who choose Jiff peanut butter. Then, I take the paper and sketch the title and author name so it’s somewhat similar in how it looks. I don’t stress over this. The purpose is to help recall not to increase my blood pressure, which, by the way I was supposed to take today. Seriously.
The next step simply involves writing those nuggets of wisdom or whatever on the paper, in any direction, in any way I choose. I find that during the process, I am giving myself a VIP tour of the book’s contents.
I’m now happier because it’s helping me recall more about the stories.
Who knows? Maybe you’d like to try.
The idea is to not become a major art project but to have fun. And fun does not have an expiration date simply because I’m more than half a century old.
Why don’t you try? I’d love to see what you do with the idea.