I wish I could write. Write well that is. But maybe I only want to be able to write because I love to read so much. Nearly all my heroes, all my role models in life are writers, authors, poets. So I yearn to write too sometimes. I want to be able to create an entire world all of my own, fill it with my own unique characters. Labour over them like they are my children, and then with fear and trepidation, send them out into the world, knowing that there is little else I can do for them. They will either be loved by others, or overlooked and shunned. But I don’t spend enough time writing. I spend too much time in the worlds and imaginations of others to spend time cultivating my own. Perhaps that is a mistake, and one I work on fixing?
But I love to read, so maybe some of us are only destined to dwell in the worlds of others? I love to see what worlds someone else has dreamt up. I read something once which I have never been able to find again, but it said that some people are such dreamers that they don’t really belong to this world; they were destined for one more beautiful. I don’t wish I lived in a more beautiful world in a physical sense, but I do wish I lived in a world where beauty is more appreciated; where it isn’t considered ‘hipster’ or weird to appreciate photography and art, fiction and poetry. Where it isn’t strange to see the snow falling and want to marvel at it. For that reason alone, sometimes I wish I lived in the olden days, when it was seemingly alright for women to be gentle and soppy, too cry when they read a beautiful poem (this happened to me the other day when I read ‘The Reaper and the Flowers’) or to be filled with an undefinable emotion when they finish a book. I don’t know if everyone gets this, but when you finish a really good book you have to just sit and think for a while (or sometimes half a day). I don’t know why, but it takes time to become myself again rather than the characters life I inhabited. I like to reflect on how I would have acted differently.
On the subject of reading, I think it should be done more often and by more people. Too many people simply read a book a year when on holiday, and even then it is the book they picked up at WH Smiths at the airport from the ‘top 20’ section. Not that that is always a bad thing, most books in the top 20 section deserve to be there. But let’s face it; there is also some real drivel. If you knew that the ONE book someone had read all year was ’50 Shades of Grey’ would you not be a little bit sad for them? I have never read any of John Green’s books, but I do follow his vlogs on YouTube. One of the vlogs him and his brother do is called crash course, in which they give you factual information about a whole range of topics, though mostly literature and history (if you are interested in science, see scishow). Anyway, in his first vlog on literature, he says that the act of both reading and writing is empathy. When we write, it is so that we can try and convey what we are feeling to others; and as we read, we learn to understand what other people are feeling, and to see the world from a different perspective.
Indeed, in a way we have covered this on my course (psychology for those of you reading for the first time, blown here by the winds of curiosity). Throughout development, children gain a theory of mind. This means they come to understand that others have minds; that others also think and feel. Children with siblings then often score higher on theory of mind tests, presumably because they have had more contact with peers. I think books must also help this, as they allow you to realise the complexities of emotions you haven’t actually had the chance to experience yet. For those who haven’t experienced love then, you can read a book (a good book that is) or preferably a few to get a wider picture, and understand a little better what it means to be in love. Of course, this can also be a bad thing, as badly written books, or unrealistic ones can give us unrealistic expectations. This is my beef with the Twilight books (did I just gain a few enemies?). I read all the books, and I won’t deny it, I found them entertaining. They weren’t great, but something about them held me in the story, and I understand why they are so popular with young girls especially. However if that is the only book these young girls read, then I fear for them due to their unrealistic portrayal of love. Even Jane Eyre, a character written in 1847, has more gumption than Bella Swan!
Sorry for the rant. I am hung over and somewhat emotional for no reason. Forgive me, and I promise something with more direction next time 🙂