As I mentioned in my first post, I recently unearthed one of the last things I completed, a short story entitled “Passing Sentence.” My file dates tell me that I wrote the thing back in the year 2000. It’s genuinely depressing to realize that a whole decade passed without me writing anything meaningful. (Computer manuals, while hopefully useful, do not exercise one’s creative jones).
So what was the problem? What did I stop like that? I can’t answer that question with any authority but I realized that I stopped doing something else.
That’s a horrible confession for a writer to make, but I barely cracked a book during the first decade of the millennium. I can’t tell you why, but I can’t say there’s no connection between my lack of input to my lack of output.
What I can tell is what I did this summer. I finally broke down and brought myself an Amazon Kindle™. To give you an idea of what this did to my reading habits, I had been slogging my way through Stephen King’s mammoth doorstop, Under the Dome, for almost a year, using the Kindle app on my iPhone, and was only about halfway through the book. After I had the actual e-reader in my hands, I powered through the remainder of the book in three days.
Let no one tell you that you don’t want the actual reader because you can get the app on your phone for free. It’s not the same. The non-backlit, glare-free screen on the reader is so much closer to actual experience of reading a book that it’s not even close. Lest anyone think this is a commercial for the Kindle, the same thing applies to the NOOK from Barnes & Noble, the Sony, and others. The actual black-and-white e-reader is in all ways superior to reading on a computer, tablet, or phone.
In a good week I can power through two or three books, although a book a week is more realistic now that I’m working, but suddenly, with my reading habits back in gear, my writing muscles emerged from hibernation, and Human X, the book you will hopefully read in early 2012, was the first result.