Saturday 5 December 2015

The Lingering Magic of Good Reading

I always marvel at how powerful words can be. 

Every sentence ever written is just a different combination of the same 26 lines and swirls, that if we look at in certain sequences, can make us laugh and cry, love and hate, and carry the potential to change our lives forever. If that's not magic, then I don't know what is.  

The one particular charm I find of truly amazing writing, is that it casts a spectre of magic which lingers for hours and days after completion. Recently, after finishing 'Smashed' by Koren Zailckas then 'The Odd Woman and the City' by Vivian Gornick in quick succession, I felt so inspired that the delicate scent of marvel hung in the atmosphere of my mind for days, seeping into my perception so purposefully and so profoundly.

Gazing at my hair in the mirror, suddenly the dark roots peeking through my platinum blonde hair didn't irritate me, but appeared to me like the parting of two great tectonic plates, a bubble of genesis exploding from between.

When I'm working, finding myself copying and pasting sentences into a document, I notice that part of my mind can actually register the burden after I've ctrl+c'd something and am yet to ctrl+v it, as though my cursor is pregnant with my selection, and the urgency to safely deliver it is palpable.

And when I'm stressed out after missing my train and having had to sprint to catch the next one, I'm hot and irritated when the tiny little face of a bright-eyed young toddler peeks through the gaps in the train chairs, startling blue eyes locked on mine. She extends one tiny chubby little hand, finger outstretched, and an intuitive part of me acts impulsively and reaches out, delicately touching my index finger against hers with a little boop. She falls about in delightful giggles and I grin, struck by the notion that this little girl and I had just inadvertently mirrored Michaelangelo's proverbial 'Creation of Adam.'

But that's just what reading does - it extracts the magic in the everyday. 

And sometimes it seems as essential to my life as eating and breathing. Because not only does it make me an optimist, a believer, and a more considerate thinker, I firmly believe that being an avid reader tames the subconscious, wild part of me into becoming a better writer, too.