I had a plan. It was a good plan. It was a logical plan. It was a productive plan.
I drive for Uber, as I find my way into writing it pays the bills. I enjoy meeting new people and setting my own schedule. I get to see the city I love in a new way, and in between riders I can listen to podcasts and audiobooks. It beats the hell out of a 9-5. Unless, that is, the city you live in is going through the worst winter it’s seen in half a decade and that same city has been caught with its pants down when it comes to keeping streets driveable.
Did I say pants down? I meant pants down while fucking a donkey, giving it a reach around and sharting. Seriously, you need a tank to get around in this shit. And don’t get me started on playing pothole Frogger.
And since someone pissed off the weather gods (I’m looking at you, MAGA fucktards), we got more snow this weekend, to levels that crippled the city. I did what I needed to do, stayed out a little longer to make more money when the streets were clear (not too hard, I do most of my driving during the week anyway) in anticipation of a snowy Friday and giving the city two days to clear the streets.
I was looking forward to my weather imposed three-day weekend, and some alone time. I’m in the middle of three blog post drafts, I have a podcast episode ready for edit, polish and recording and a short story ready for a total re-write. I was gonna write until my fingertips calloused and my eyes bled with strain, and then I was gonna repeat that two more fucking times. It was gonna be glorious. It was gonna be rewarding . It was what being a writer was all about.
And it didn’t happen.
It all started with one innocent(ish) mistake. I started a book on Thursday night, the fifth in a series (the Daniel Faust series by Craig Schaefer, it’s good, read it) and got about two-thirds of the way through before I dozed off for the night. I woke up to the aroma of fresh-brewed Roasterie coffee and a commitment not to leave my PJs. My laptop beckoned me. So did my Kindle.
I swear I was just gonna finish the book over my coffee and get to writing.
Once I start reading, I can’t stop. I know this about myself.
This was made easier by Kindle Unlimited, which allowed me to immediately download the next book in the series without having to wait, or think. Amazon has found a way to make a digital form of crack that’s legal in all fifty states. I started book six before I finished the pot of coffee. And that’s all he wrote. Or in this case, didn’t write.
I am now standing even with Daniel Faust as I await his new adventure (there damn well better be a book nine). It was 1400 pages of reading over three days. In unrelated news I believe magic exists and that there are rivaling courts of hell with agents on earth.
I should feel guilty about my literary gluttony. I had a clear weekend to myself with no distractions. Most writers would kill (and I imagine some have) in order to create that setting. But I don’t feel guilty. Not one bit.
Sunday afternoon, after I had finished the last book and there was no more Faust to read, I was doing some chores and getting organized for the week and was reminded of the King quote at the top of this post. King is known to read for a minimum of five hours a day. Every. Single. Day. I consider myself quite carnivorous, but that staggers me.
His point is that writing and reading go hand in hand, and that reading helps deepen our understanding of the craft, which informs us and makes us better writers. Which of course is exactly what I was going for when I binged my way through 4 books in 3 days.
Okay, it wasn’t. I got drawn completely into a supernatural world with a well-paced plot and engaging characters. It was entertaining and relaxing. Which is actually why all that shit I wrote in the previous paragraph happened anyway.
I keep a notebook with me wherever I go, and when I read it’s always within arms reach. I scribble a lot of random shit in there, sometimes not even I can decipher it. Sometimes it’s a well-written phrase that resonates either with me or something I am writing. Sometimes it is a plot or character device that I can use in my own work. More often than not, reading someone else’s work gives me thoughts about my own that I may not have otherwise had.
But more than that, enjoying reading deepens my enjoyment of writing. It reminds me of the worlds that words can build. Whole fucking worlds. It puts me in a state of wonder. A state I always want present in my life.
I’ve gotta go now. I’ve got more reading to do.