Why I read, and why I want to create more

Dan O’Neill 2015-05-13 2 min read

Having changed job recently, and rejoined the commuting masses, I’ve actually been able to rekindle my reading a little. The break in one routine allowed me to change another. Instead of reading twitter all the way home on the odd day I was in the office, now I reach for a book.

nice image by Dominik Schröder https://unsplash.com/wirhabenzeit

No matter the subject matter, its a great temporary escape. Its the same feeling I get while engrossed in a great movie or game. Books, uniquely, allow you to set your own pace. Books give you the ability to stop and think about what you’re reading - each sentence if you wanted to. The ability to look up a related fact or even to imagine yourself in that situation to think about what you would do.

I love this quote about Alexandre Dumas from the former French President, Jacques Chirac -

With you, we were D’Artagnan, Monte Cristo, or Balsamo, riding along the roads of France, touring battlefields, visiting palaces and castles—with you, we dream.

That’s the escape. That’s how I feel while reading, viewing, playing, or watching. Doesn’t matter if its fiction or factual - that’s what books, art, movies, or games do for me. A break from life, from personal reality.

I still read a lot online, a lot of it prompted by folks I follow on twitter. I also subscribe to a few newsletters. Some of my favourite reads come from Brain Pickings for example. In particular I always love reading about the daily habits of writers. Something I noticed early on is that almost without fail, each author spent a large part of their day reading.

I throw quite a few words out here on a regular enough basis and that gives me some outlet. I think I’d like to build on that though, by writing something a bit more or by maybe building a nice little universe. Hope I’m hoping that I can build further on that escape. Some writers say thats possible and that writing is their escape. Some, like Flannery O’Connor, though wrote that writing isn’t that great a way to escape…

I’m always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it’s very shocking to the system.

I encouraged by the number of authors though that do think its an escape. Hopefully I have the same experience.