Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
Thanks, Mr. Faulkner, for that. I can’t imagine not reading, and certainly not writing without reading. And you’ve made me feel just a little less guilty about that huge stash of unread books on my Kindle, especially those “guilty pleasures.”
Reading was my favorite pastime as a kid, and my preferred reading spot was in a tree, as high up as I dared. Mother used to joke that to find me, she had to go outside and look up. Happily, she indulged this somewhat risky quirk because reading gave me a window on the outside world and laid a foundation for lifetime learning. But just as importantly, reading taught me to how to be quiet and to love solitude, something that has served me well. The jury’s not in on the effect on our kids of the decline in reading in favor of social media and electronic games. But I can tell you this: It’s hard to trump reading a good book on a tree limb in bare feet on a summer day. I hope they don’t miss that.