Now I know why I’ve been avoiding reading novels for the past few years: because they inspire my creativity in ways I can’t control.
Lately, I’ve felt much more comfortable reading nonfiction, which inspires my analytical tendencies and critical thinking. Those are two things that even 19-year-old undergraduates can deal with.
But creativity is another beast entirely. Being creative is mind, heart, body, soul. It’s risky. It’s scary. And there’s a chance that what you create may be no good, or at least not good enough. But being creative – whatever form that takes – offers an exhilaration and sense of satisfaction in my soul that logic never could.
So, tonight I will again reach for Pam Houston’s latest novel Contents May Have Shifted instead of reading yet another business book or war memoir. Because I want to be inspired. Because the way she uses words helps me remember how much I love them, not just for what they say but for how they can dance across the page with grace or come crashing down on me like waves, rhythmic and powerful. She helps me remember that this is what words are meant for. And then I start to believe that I can create something that just might be good enough.
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Also, here’s a fascinating article a friend shared with me about the benefits of reading fiction on your brain (and social skills):
NYT: Your brain on fiction