How To Read

I recently started The Liars Club by Mary Karr and am struggling to read it, not because she is a bad writer, but rather because she is a great writer. Each sentence, each paragraph is constructed so poetically and succinctly and grammatically correct, I want to focus on the words and the sentence structure. The memoir is proving to be so compelling and engaging that I want to discover what happens next. I’m torn between my desire to savor the writing and devour the story.

When I began studying film my mother told me that I’d never be able to watch a movie the same way. I’d see a film and think about how long a shot was, where the cuts were, how each scene was framed. Studying the movie distracted from enjoying it. In Los Angeles many film enthusiasts would see a movie at least twice, once to enjoy it and once to observe it.

I am an excited person and I struggle to repeat something that I have done before. Reading my work is a challenge. When I edited my short films I’d always anticipate the next scene before the current one was finished. At times, I’d get into the zone and could work incredibly efficiently and well, but it continues to get harder and harder to reach the zone.

My talented writer mate who reads this blog reminds me that writing, and editing, is a trade. Putting in the hours leads to results. I imagine the more I force myself into the editing zone the easier it will be. But I’m a decent procrastinator so I’ve been able to avoid said revisions for some time.

Obviously reading well written books like Mary Karr’s memoir furthers my trade, even if it intimidates. Karr started with the same blank white page as I and she wrote. And she edited. I’m going to read her book in a way that is most enjoyable to me. I can always reread it.


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