I respect writers, for one thing is for sure; my life, and numerous others, would be gapingly hollow if there was no such art as that of putting stories in black and white.
Writers shed their sickness on paper, that is the cliché. But there are times when you can’t scrape a story out of your head. Words simply won’t develop into phrases, sentences, then paragraphs, and into a complete story. No matter how much thinking and re-thinking you do, something clogs your mind and numbs your writing hand. Could it be that, on such moments, there is no sickness to shed? Perhaps it is always there. You only need to be in the right state of mind to spew it.
Then there are those occasions, when words just tumble out of your mind, as if in quest for a prize for whichever idea beats others in a race to meet paper. You set your mind in free fall, and let the sickness ooze out. You can almost feel words seep out of your brain.
So you write and erase and re-write. And you put your entire mind to both actions. When you step aside to admire your handiwork, like an artisan, only on a few occasions will you feel proud of your craft. More pictures of readers pushing the story aside in disgust than of those hugging it to their hearts will flash before your eyes.
But whether all the writers in the world are in any of the two states of confusion, there is always a good article, play, poem, novel or bio to read. The sickness engages eyes and brains out there. We call some page-turners, unputdownables, world best-sellers, we rate some five-star, we leave some unrated. I will still read a book even if it is just to find out what the writer was thinking, to come up with a story that has the same effect as a sleeping pill. Here, pluses and minuses don’t matter.
A good book is better than sex, I can attest to this. Here is how; I have had books consume me, and suck me up into their world. I float around with characters, twist and turn with the plot, squirm with dramatic reversals, duck or raise my head with sub-plots. Call it a bed sheet/post gripping climax; I have had it with a book. And I have met such intense and passionate experiences only in books and movies.
The power that words can have, to make you forget yourself for as long as what you are reading lasts, is what is most amazing. Like now, reader, thanks for not pushing this aside at the first line. For that is always my greatest fear. For allowing my words to hyptonise you for as long as it took to get to the last full stop, I should say you agree with me.