On Reading

I spent today on a date with my laptop that lasted hours and hours, ranging from the home writing room, living room, bedroom, to the coffee shop and a restaurant downtown, then back again.  Reading stories for Interfictions 2.0 is what I’ve been doing, really.  It’s a really pleasurable yet difficult task.  There are all these stories, so many of them, and so many good ones, great ones, brilliant ones, and so many charming ones, which isn’t always a descriptor for the good, great, brilliant ones–charming is a quality that stands alone.  It indicates magic above and beyond technical ability and sturdy wordcraft, a vision or spell that wipes out the world around you for the length of its enchantment, from sentence one to the last word…and then beyond that, even, into the white space outside the page that we return to after reading, the world sketching itself back in around us, determined to be the predominant dream in our lives, the master narrative, us its bedazzled slaves.  

This is what the sort of story I’m always looking for does–don’t think of it as an editor but as a reader, anytime, anywhere–the story or poem or play or film or song that creates its own reality for a period of time, establishes its own rules and regulations, yet somehow tells me things about the world it’s taken me away from for a while, then returns me to it, either roughed up a bit or gently.

The more you consistently read in such great quantities, though, the harder it is to be caught in a story’s spell.  You learn the tricks and see the hands moving…this is also one of the signs of a story that gets its spell off and holds its reader:  you never see what’s coming, the trick retains its secrecy and mystery, it remains magical despite your best explanations.

One response

  1. Pingback: occasional fish » One on writing, one on reading

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